The 2018 Farm Bill was passed by both houses in Congress and President Trump hinted that he would sign the bill this week. The legislation includes expanded farm subsidies, permanent funding for farmers markets and local food programs, and increased funding and flexibility for a variety of federal grant programs.
Specifically, all USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) trade programs that USHBC has applied for in 2019 were recommended for funding with greater flexibility and expanded timelines. Specifically, the Market Access Program (MAP) was recommended for annual funding of no less than $200 million, and the definition of “emerging market” for the Emerging Markets Program (EMP) program has been revised to include more eligible countries. Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops (TASC) project eligibility has been revised to allow for greater flexibility in the type of research and technical assistance funded by the program, and project timelines can extend beyond five years, pending justification and approval.
The USHBC Export Subcommittee directs the industry’s export initiatives and oversees the management of all projects funded by FAS Trade Programs. Over the past five years, federal grant funding for export market development has grown from $225,000 in 2013 to over $900,000 in 2018. In 2019, USHBC expects to exceed $1.1 million in FAS Trade Program funds.