BALTIMORE, MD -- The U.S. Agricultural Export Development Council (USAEDC) held their annual workshop here last week attended by commodity trade associations, state and regional trade groups, as well as marketing research companies, who gather to hear about the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) priorities and operations.
Deputy Undersecretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Alexis Taylor gave the keynote address about expanding export markets for U.S. agriculture. Mark Slupek, Deputy Administrator of the Office of Trade Programs, briefed cooperators on the priorities for the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), and Charlie Cook of the Cook Report gave an engaging and informative analysis of the recent presidential election, highlighting what might lie ahead for trade.
During break-out sessions, Sarah Moran, USA Rice senior director for international trade and market development, joined a panel on cooperator partnerships including USDA’s Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development (FMD) Program.
“This year's theme at USAEDC was to highlight the successful public private partnerships between USDA and the cooperator community,” said Moran. “The MAP and FMD programs which require an industry match are an excellent example of these successful partnerships and have helped agricultural exports increase significantly in the past 15 years. For instance, we were able to share the work USA Rice is doing with FAS in Turkey regarding GMO contamination of containers carrying U.S. rice. Turkey has a zero tolerance for GMOs and while there is no GM rice in commercial production in the United States, rice is shipped in containers that once carried GM modified commodities. Turkish government officials, media, and agricultural engineers will travel to the U.S. to learn about the benefits of agricultural biotechnology for farmers and consumers. This activity will be funded through the Cochran Program.”
The U.S. rice industry benefits greatly through its partnership with FAS and was just awarded more than $4.5 million in MAP and FMD funding for overseas promotion of U.S.-grown rice.