U.S. Lags Behind in Ag Export Investment
February 9, 2018

The latest analysis of foreign export promotion program investment shows that several competing countries and the European Union spent close to $1 billion in public funds on agricultural export promotion in 2016, outspending the United States four to one, according to a press release from the Coalition to Promote U.S. Agricultural Exports and the Agribusiness Coalition for Foreign Market Development.

That is an increase of 70 percent in real competitive public spending since 2011. U.S. public funding for the two largest agricultural export promotion programs is about $235 million per year, and its real value has declined by 12 percent since 2011. The conclusions echo results of three similar competitive studies since 2013.

"Other governments are investing more in global food and agricultural markets while inflation, sequestration and administrative costs are chipping away at U.S. funding," said Tom Sleight, CEO of U.S. Grains Council, which is a member of the Agribusiness Coalition for Foreign Market Development. "That also cuts into the ability of American family farmers, livestock and dairy producers, fishermen and small agri-food businesses to compete in growing export markets."

Sleight said increasing competition is one of the reasons why organizations that participate in cost-share export programs with USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service, as well as a number of members of Congress, are calling for more funding for U.S. programs.