(The Center Square) – Rep. Kim Schrier (WA-08) is looking to increase funding for the federal Market Access Program and Foreign Market Development Program to ensure markets for Washington farmers.
Washington state’s agriculture sector employs over 164,000 people and exports billions of dollars of products every year. In 2021, over $14.3 billion of agricultural products were exported through Washington state, according to a report by the Washington Council on International Trade.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s two export promotion programs work to retain a market for farmers throughout the country. The Market Access Program provides opportunities for agricultural trade associations and small businesses to apply for either generic or brand-specific promotion funds to support export efforts.
The Foreign Market Development Program promotes bulk commodities and helps agricultural trade associations establish a permanent presence in important markets. Program efforts include reducing infrastructural market impediments and identifying new markets or new uses for an agricultural product.
The legislation cites an academic analysis that found that doubling public funding for the Market Access Program and the Foreign Market Development Program nationally would result in average annual gains in agricultural exports of approximately $7.4 billion.
Last December, the two programs awarded a combined $202.7 million to over 60 U.S. agricultural organizations to help expand export markets for U.S. farm and food products.
“The Market Access Program and the Foreign Market Development Program have proven to help local farmers and growers in my district bring their top-quality products [and unlock] economic opportunity on a global scale for local businesses of the [Washington state 8th District],” Schrier said in a statement. “I’m proud to be an original cosponsor of this legislation that increases funding for these programs to help the agriculture community face the challenges of rising costs, supply chain issues and low crop yields.”
The legislation is co-sponsored by Reps. Dan Newhouse (R-WA), Jimmy Panetta (D-CA), Tracey Mann (R-KS), Jim Costa (D-CA), Brad Finstad (R-MN), Ashley Hinson (R-IA) and Chellie Pingree (D-ME).