USA- The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced a substantial investment of over US$230 million aimed at fortifying the agricultural industry and bolstering the national economy. 

The funding, facilitated through the agency’s Foreign Agricultural Service, will be allocated to nearly 70 agricultural organizations to support market expansion efforts. The funds will be distributed through the Market Access Program and Foreign Market Development Program.

The Market Access Program is set to distribute approximately US$174 million to 68 nonprofits and cooperatives. These organizations will utilize the funds for brand promotion and customer outreach initiatives in the fiscal year 2024. 

The Cotton Council International emerges as the top recipient, securing nearly US$14.8 million. Following closely, the U.S. Meat Export Federation and the Food Export Association of the Midwest USDA are slated to receive US$12.8 million and US$10.1 million, respectively.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, the National Industrial Hemp Council, Synergistic Hawaii Agriculture Council, California Olive Committee, American Feed Industry Association, and Mohair Council of America will each receive allocations ranging between US$134,000 and US$202,000.

The Foreign Market Access Program will allocate an additional US$27 million to 20 agriculture producer trade associations. Notably, these associations are expected to contribute US$2.50 for every dollar received in federal funding. The allocated funds will be utilized to promote commodities and support programs aimed at increasing overseas demand.

USDA officials emphasize that these investments align with the Regional Agriculture Promotion Program (RAPP) launched last year. The RAPP initiative is anticipated to fund US$1.2 billion in programs to assist exporters in reaching non-traditional markets and reinforcing relationships in existing ones. Applications for the first round of RAPP funding are being accepted until February 2.

Daniel B. Whitley, the administrator of the Foreign Agricultural Service, highlights the significant impact of the Market Access Program and Foreign Market Development Programs in expanding global market exports. 

For each US$1 invested in export market development, U.S. agricultural exports have increased by more than US$24,” says Whitley. “These programs provide a significant boost to the U.S. agricultural industry, which in turn helps strengthen the economy not just in rural communities, but across the entire United States.”

The USDA’s strategic investment underscores its commitment to supporting the agricultural sector, fostering international trade relationships, and promoting economic growth on a national scale.

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