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USDA to Promote Exports


Speaking at the World Food Prize Borlaug Dialogue on October 24th, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced $1.3 billion for the Regional Agricultural Promotion Program and an additional $1 billion in food assistance to nations in need.  The 2023 Borlaug Dialogue marked the 90th anniversary of the Commodity Credit Corporation introduced during the Great Depression to stabilize markets and support farm income.  In recent years, the CCC has become a bottomless piggy bank for USDA initiatives and also to fund depopulation of flocks following exposure to HPAI.


The intent of the $1.3 billion will be to support export of unspecified specialty crops that will require new markets in addition to strengthening trade with existing nations.  The allocation of $1.3 billion will, in part, replace funding under the Agricultural Trade Promotion Program established five years ago and due to expire next year.

The USDA announcement includes the statement that for every dollar invested in export market development, a benefit of $24 billion is obtained.  If this is the case, the $1.3 billion should return $31 billion. This will presumably eliminate the forecast $28 billion negative agricultural trade deficit in Fiscal 2024.  It will be interesting to review both the deficit and also the effect of the cash infusion on exports of specialty crops to nontraditional markets.