Leaders from the corn and soybean industries urged the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee to increase funding for international trade programs that could help with the export of feed ingredients.
Testimony from the corn industry
Testifying during the committee’s recent Farm Bill hearing in Manhattan, Kansas, Kent Moore, who serves as the chairman of the Kansas Corn Commission and as a board member of the Kansas Corn Growers Association, said that the growth potential for ag exports is greater than any other demand sector today.
To better help the U.S. agricultural sector tap into this potential, Moore spoke of the importance of the federal Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development (FMD) programs.
“Programs like MAP and FMD are critical in building export markets for our ag products, but these two programs have had stagnant funding levels for a number of years. We support the efforts of the agriculture trade community to increase funding for MAP and FMD,” Moore said.
Moore pointed out the spending power of those two programs has dropped by more than 40 percent in recent years due to factors such as sequestration, administration and inflations.
The senators were reminded by Moore that farmers, through the checkoff, support the U.S. Grains Council to develop exports of corn and distillers’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS), both important poultry and livestock feed ingredients. Increased funding for MAP and FMD will make the checkoff investment for foreign market development efficient and effective.
Soybean industry testimony
Also testifying at the hearing was Lucas Heinen, president of the Kansas Soybean Association.
Like Moore, Heinen stressed the importance of the MAP and FMD programs.
“We strongly support doubling mandatory funding for the Foreign Market Development Program and the Market Access Program to spur promotion of U.S. agricultural exports,” said Heinen. “Funding for these programs has been frozen for over ten years while our foreign competitors are massively outspending us on market promotion.”
The hearing was held on the campus of Kansas State University, the alma mater of Sen. Pat Roberts, the chairman of the Senate ag committee.