Gary W. Williams, Texas A&M University
New Study Shows High Return on Investment From Overseas Market Development Programs
Growing and maintaining export markets is essential for U.S. farmers and ranchers, especially at a time of low commodity prices and abundant supply. USDA’s Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development (FMD) program play a critical role in this effort and offer both farmers and taxpayers an excellent return on investment, according to a new study that looked at program impact over the past four decades.
These agricultural export market development programs, funded through the 2014 Farm Bill, have contributed an average annual increase of $8.2 billion – for a total of more than $309 billion – to farm export revenue between 1977 and 2014, the study showed. This equates to an impressive return on investment of 28 to 1.
“These programs have accounted for 15 percent of all the revenue generated by exports for U.S. agriculture over that time. To me, such a positive result is just stunning,” said Dr. Gary Williams, professor of agricultural economics and co-director of the Agribusiness, Food and Consumer Economics Research Center at Texas A&M University, who led the team doing this research.
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