Seventy U.S. trade organizations received more than $234 million in fiscal 2009 to help promote American food and agricultural products overseas.

“Agricultural trade is absolutely crucial to the U.S. economy and by providing this funding to U.S. organizations during these difficult economic times will help open new global markets for American food products,” said USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack.

The funding was allocated under the Market Access Program (MAP) and the Foreign Market Development (FMD) Cooperator Program, both administered by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS).

The Market Access Program uses funds from USDA’s Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) to share the costs of overseas market development and promotional activities with U.S. nonprofit agricultural trade organizations, state regional trade groups, and cooperatives.

Activities conducted with MAP funding include market research, consumer promotions for retail products, technical capacity building, and seminars to educate overseas customers.

Under the FMD program, USDA’s CCC establishes a partnership with nonprofit U.S. agricultural trade organizations. Funding priority is given to organizations that represent an entire industry or are nationwide in membership and scope. Program activities focus on reducing market impediments, improving the processing capabilities of importers, modifying restrictive regulatory codes and standards in foreign markets, and identifying new markets or uses for U.S. products.

2009 MAP and FMD program allocations include: American Peanut Council, $2,474,731; American Soybean Association, $4,969,565; Cotton Council International, $20,031,257; National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, $2,711,216; Southern United States Trade Association, $7,118,677; The Catfish Institute, $356,325; U.S. Grains Council, $8,355,155; U.S. Wheat Associates, $6,303,629; USA Rice Federation/U.S. Rice Producers Association, $4,632,465.

2009 Foreign Market Development Cooperator Program allocations include:

American Peanut Council, $634,050; American Seed Trade Association, $228,499; American Soybean Association, $6,653,799; Cotton Council International, $4,187,329; U.S. Grains Council, $4,730,977; U.S. Wheat Associates, $6,658,416; USA Rice Federation, $1,529,077.

For more information about FAS’s market development programs, contact the Office of Trade Programs at (202) 720-4327, or visit http://www.fas.usda.gov/mos/marketdev.asp.