The USDA has awarded $200 million to 57 organizations through the Agricultural Trade Promotion Program (ATP) to aid farmers and ranchers in identifying and accessing new export markets. The ATP is one of three USDA programs created to mitigate the effects of unjustified trade retaliation against U.S. farmers and exporters. Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) accepted ATP applications between Sept. 4 and Nov. 2, totaling nearly $600 million, from U.S. trade associations, cooperatives and other industry-affiliated organizations.
"At USDA, we are always looking to expand existing markets or open new ones, so we are proud to make good on the third leg of the President's promise to America's farmers," says U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. "This infusion will help us develop other markets and move us away from being dependent on one large customer for our agricultural products. This is seed money, leveraged by hundreds of millions of dollars from the private sector, that will help to increase our agricultural exports."
Previously, the Trump administration authorized up to $12 billion in programs to provide assistance to U.S. agriculture through a trade mitigation packaged. In addition to the $200 million allocated to the ATP, the packaged also included the Market Facilitation Program to provide payments to farmers harmed by retaliatory tariffs, and a food purchase and distribution program to assist producers of targeted commodities.
All sectors of U.S. agriculture were eligible to apply for cost-share assistance. FAS evaluated applications according to criteria that included the potential for export growth in the target market, direct injury from the imposed retaliatory tariffs, and the likelihood that the proposed project or activity will have a near-term impact on agricultural exports.
"We were pleased to see the large demand for participation in the program, and truly got some out-of-the-box ideas that we are hopeful will expand our global footprint," Perdue says. "We examined all applications carefully, considering our ranking criteria and awarded the funds in order to make the best use of taxpayer dollars in growing agricultural trade."