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Farm Groups Celebrate USDA’s First Strategic Allocation of $300 Million to Bolster American Agricultural Products through RAPP

May 22, 2024 Contact USAEDC

On May 21, 2024, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced its first allocation of funds of $300 million to 66 U.S. organizations, under the new Regional Agricultural Promotion Program (RAPP), “to build demand for American food and farm exports in high-potential markets around the globe.” The first tranche of $300 million comes from a combined $1.2 Billion RAPP fund that is set to bolster American agricultural exports by opening new markets and expanding trade opportunities globally in the coming years. USAEDC member organizations welcomed the news with a series of statements celebrating USDA for this effort.

Greg Tyler, President and CEO of USA Poultry and Egg Export Council and USAEDC Chair:

“The positive impact of sustained investment in export promotion is profound, benefiting consumers, businesses, and economies globally, as well as our own U.S. agricultural economy. This funding empowers American producers to not only compete in established markets but also to venture into new ones. This new investment builds on the foundational work of previous market development programs and paves the way for advancements in nutrition, sustainability, and economic growth through American agriculture. In an era of rising global competition and persistent conflicts, the work ahead is critical, and we are eager to collaborate to achieve impactful results.”

Clarice Turner, President and CEO of the Almond Board of California:

“We are thankful to the current Administration for the creation of this program and are thrilled to receive this support from the Regional Agricultural Promotion Program. We recognize that growers still face challenging economic times and ABC is exploring all opportunities, like this funding, that will enable the Board to accelerate demand building initiatives and open new markets for California almonds.”

Josh Gackle, President of American Soybean Association:

“ASA commends USDA for its commitment to strengthening U.S. agricultural trade by providing Commodity Credit Corporation funds through RAPP to maintain and develop markets and address global food security. We appreciate the work by Senator Stabenow, Senator Boozman, and Secretary Vilsack to initiate this much-needed program. New international markets are critical to sustaining U.S. soybean growers’ success. This program will open new opportunities while improving upon the success of other programs vital to U.S. soy, like MAP and FMD.”

Alicia Rockwell, Chief Government and Public Affairs Officer for Blue Diamond Growers:

“The award of this funding by USDA demonstrates its understanding of the essential role international marketing plays in the economic viability of our farmers and we are very grateful for that. With RAPP funding, Blue Diamond looks forward to continuing this important work to drive long-term positive impacts for California almond farmers.”

Brendan Wilson, CEO and Executive Director for Food Export-Midwest and Food Export-Northeast:

“Food Export-Midwest and Food Export-Northeast are pleased to announce that each organization received notification of RAPP funding approval. We would like to express our deep appreciation to the USDA and Congressional leadership for supporting this program, and to the Foreign Agricultural Service for entrusting us with this opportunity to serve suppliers across our 23 member states. It is a privilege to empower small- and medium-sized businesses in our regions to sell their food and agricultural products internationally. Our teams are excited about this funding announcement and are taking steps to leverage these resources to benefit our suppliers and stakeholders.”

Kent Swisher, President and CEO of North American Renderers Association:

“NARA has been participating in USDA export promotion programs since the 1950s and has a long track record of increasing exports and market share of U.S. rendered and repurposed products overseas. I think the award of $3.3 million in RAPP funds to NARA shows that USDA has a lot of confidence in our approach to diversifying markets and boosting exports.”

Tim D. McGreevy, CEO of USA Dry Pea and Lentil Council:

“The USA Dry Pea and Lentil Council would like to thank Agriculture Secretary Vilsack and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for their commitment to developing new export markets for U.S. grown pulse crops (dry peas, lentils, and chickpeas). Funding from RAPP will allow our industry to significantly increase promotion of these nutrient dense and sustainable foods into new and emerging markets. USA farmers and processors produce high quality pulse crops and ingredients. We look forward to working with the staff at the USDA Foreign Ag Service (FAS) to deliver programming that will showcase why USA Pulses are the “Standard for Quality and Sustainability” around the world.”

Krysta Harden, President and CEO of U.S. Dairy Export Council:

“We want to thank USDA, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, and Congressional leaders for their critical support and for the benefits this program will have in supporting U.S. dairy farmers and the U.S. agriculture industry overall. We also appreciate USDA’s hardworking FAS staff. Today’s announcement reflects the deep commitment of FAS’s staff over the last several months, who delivered the funding ahead of schedule. USDEC is grateful to receive $10 million in RAPP funding, and we applaud USDA’s decision to invest heavily in supporting the development of international markets for America’s dairy farmers and processors.  We will leverage those dollars to ensure we are shipping to those who need it. Now more than ever, the U.S. dairy industry relies on exports.  This new funding will allow USDEC to assist in delivering sustainable, healthy, nourishing U.S. dairy products to countries that lack an abundance of dairy in their diets while simultaneously creating mutually beneficial growth for the dairy sectors on all sides – It’s a win-win scenario.”

Dan Halstrom, President and CEO of U.S. Meat Export Federation:

“USMEF is honored to participate in RAPP and we thank Secretary Vilsack and the staff at USDA for their vision and leadership in implementing this program. The additional investment in foreign market development is very timely and will be especially helpful in expanding demand for U.S. red meat in emerging export markets. USMEF also appreciates the role Congressional leaders played in the development of RAPP. We thank them for their support of this program and for prioritizing Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development (FMD) funding in the new Farm Bill.”

Kevin Moffitt, President and CEO of Pear Bureau Northwest:

“We are extremely pleased with the generous allocation that the Pear Bureau received from the USDA’s new RAPP program. The export team did a fantastic job on their grant application, and the funds will bolster our export programs which are so important to the fresh pear growers in Washington and Oregon.”

Steve Vargas, Chair of the USA Rice International Promotion Committee:

“We applaud Secretary Vilsack and the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service for prioritizing the health and vitality of export markets for U.S. agriculture. About half of our rice production is exported and we are confident this infusion of new funds will help find new markets for U.S. rice to help maintain the strength of the U.S. rice industry.”

Lance Rezac, Chair of US Soybean Export Council:

“We applaud Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and USDA FAS for the creation of RAPP, a critically important and timely program that builds upon decades of success achieved with the Market Access Program, Foreign Market Development Program, and most recently the Agricultural Trade Promotions Program. Current examples of innovative USSEC programs aimed at diversifying markets and growing exports include the Soy Excellence Center and the Right to Protein campaign. The USSEC team is excited to build on these successes and bring to life the creative program concepts included in our RAPP funding proposal.”