Public-Private Partnerships Build Global Markets for U.S. Farm Goods, Adding $9.6 Billion In Export Value

Export vessel loading.
Export vessel loading.

Programs to help U.S. farmers build markets overseas boosted agricultural exports by an average of $9.6 billion annually from 1977 to 2019, representing 13.7 percent of total agricultural export value, and returning $24.50 in additional net export revenue for every dollar spent on export promotion.

Those are the key conclusions from a study commissioned by the U.S. Grains Council on behalf of members of the U.S. Agricultural Export Development Council to evaluate USDA’s Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development (FMD) program. The study was conducted by IHS Markit in cooperation with Dr. Gary Williams and Dr. Oral Capps at Texas A&M University, both experts on evaluating the economic performance of trade promotion programs.

“We have known for quite some time that the export programs in which we participate are highly effective at boosting agricultural exports and a huge benefit to our nation’s economy and the importing nations industries and consumers,” noted Jim Sutter, Board Chair of the U.S. Agricultural Export Development Council, and CEO of the U.S. Soybean Export Council.

The MAP and FMD programs are authorized by the Farm Bill and administered by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. The programs form part of the public-private partnerships that offer competitive cost-share grants for foreign market development activities to USAEDC members. The study reported that these market development programs effectively leveraged industry contributions, averaging between 70-77 percent of expenditures from 2013-2019, valued at an estimated annual average of $567 million.

"The remarkable rate of growth for U.S. red meat exports would not have been possible without critical investments available through the USDA Market Access Program and Foreign Market Development Program. More recently, the Agricultural Trade Promotion Program also helped offset the impact of retaliatory measures imposed by some trading partners," said U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) President and CEO Dan Halstrom.

"The USAEDC study quantifies the effectiveness of these programs and confirms the positive impact these investments have on the bottom line of U.S. farmers and ranchers and everyone in the U.S. supply chain. USMEF thanks USAEDC and the U.S. Grains Council for organizing the study and for making this information available to policy makers and key stakeholders."

The study found that from 2002 to 2019, foreign market development investment through the MAP and FMD programs:

Increased farm cash receipts by $12.2 billion (3.4 percent)

Contributed $45 billion annually in economic output and $22.3 billion annually in gross domestic product

Created an estimated 225,800 jobs across the entire economy

“The organizations that comprise our membership use these export programs to great effect,” said Lorena Alfaro, Executive Director of USAEDC. “The export programs not only boost the entire agricultural sector, but they also have a multiplier effect throughout the entire U.S. economy, supporting jobs and income in a range of industries.”

“Not only do we bring the quality, reliability, and sustainability of U.S. food and ag exports to the world marketplace, but we are also supporting our hardworking farmers and so many other industries at home with these increased jobs and income,” noted Sutter. “It is rewarding to see the returns of these programs outlined in a way that shows their impact on the U.S. economy as a whole.”

More about the MAP, FMD and ATP programs are available at:


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