The funds are from the fiscal year 2003 allocations for the program, which is authorized in the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002. The farm bill provides for significant increases to MAP, more than doubling funding to $200 million annually by 2006, the first increases to the program since 1996.

“Increased trade opportunities for American agriculture products benefit not only the food and agriculture sectors, but the economy as a whole,” said Veneman. “The Market Access Program helps promote U.S. products and build new markets overseas.”

The secretary said that exports are expected to reach $56 billion this year, which support 840,000 jobs and that for every $1 billion increase in agricultural exports, 15,000 new jobs are created.

MAP uses funds from USDA’s Commodity Credit Corp. to enter into agreements with U.S. agricultural trade organizations, state regional groups and cooperatives. The CCC funds are used to share the costs of overseas marketing and promotional activities for both brand and generic promotions targeting marketing constraints and opportunities.

Examples of activities conducted with MAP funding include consumer promotions for retail products, seminars and workshops to educate overseas customers about agricultural biotechnology and food safety, training and assistance to foreign processors and manufacturers on the utilization of U.S. product ingredients and market research.

MAP is administered by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service.

All program applicants undergo a competitive review process based on four weighted criteria – 1) the degree to which the applicant contributes resources to the program, 2) historic export performance, 3) projected export goals and 4) achievement of past export goals.

MAP is one of several USDA programs included under a unified application and review process designed to ensure the most effective and results-oriented utilization of government resources available to the agriculture industry for developing overseas markets for U.S. products.

For more information on the program, contact the FAS Marketing Operations Staff at (202) 720-4327 or visit the FAS Web site at http://www.fas.usda.gov/mos/programs/mapprog.html.

Among the organizations receiving MAP funds and the amounts:

American Peanut Council, $1,185,877; American Soybean Association, $3,431,438; Blue Diamond Growers/Almond Board of California, $1,214,877; Cotton Council International, $8,406,098; The Catfish Institute, $303,268; U.S. Grains Council, $3,536,255; U.S. Meat Export Federation, $10,138,190; U.S. Wheat Associates, $2,458,897; USA Rice Federation/U.S. Rice Producers Association, $2,620,887.

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