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House bill introduced to increase market access for American farmers

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California Democratic Rep. Jim Costa, a senior member of the House Agriculture Committee and Chair of the Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture, recently introduced H.R. 9244 – Supporting Market Access to Reinvigorate Trade Act of 2022 — dubbed The SMART Act. This bipartisan legislation is aimed at expanding programs to develop new business opportunities for American agriculture goods.

“Opening and growing new markets for American-made products is critical to building our agricultural economy,” Costa said in a news release. “Food is a global security issue, and we must do all we can to reverse disruptions in trade and grow new partnerships that help deliver American products around the world.”

The SMART Act would double the amount of funding to at least $400 million per fiscal year for the Market Access Program (MAP) and at least $69 million per fiscal year for the Foreign Market Development (FMD) Program. The increase in funding is intended to ensure American products are promoted in primary and secondary markets, providing access to new markets for farmers seeking to export products.

In addition to Cost, this bill has six co-sponsors: three Democrats and three Republicans.

“Many people involved in our country’s agriculture depend on programs like the Market Access Program and the Foreign Market Development Program to reach new markets abroad and grow their businesses at home,” said fellow California Rep. Jimmy Panetta, one of the co-sponsors. “The bipartisan SMART Act would make significant investments in those programs to ensure that our nation’s farmers and ranchers have access to the tools and resources that they need to compete in the global marketplace. Such federal support to secure the appropriate market access abroad would help create good-paying jobs, support local economies, and fortify our agriculture at home.”

“Iowa farmers produce some of the highest quality products that feed and fuel the world,” said Rep. Cindy Axne, one of two co-sponsors from Iowa. “Through further investment in the successful Market Access Program and Foreign Market Development Program, producers will have access to new markets that will enable them to continue to compete globally against foreign competitors. Iowa is the second largest exporter of agricultural goods and these programs directly benefit farmers and support rural communities across the state.”

According to the bill, an academic analysis found that doubling public funding for the Market Access Program and the Foreign Market Development Program, coupled with increasing private contributions by 10 to 20 percent, would result in average annual gains in agricultural exports of approximately $7.4 billion.

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