USDA Funding to Expand Market Opportunities Overseas

The USDA is allocating $300 million to 66 organizations under the new Regional Agricultural Promotion Program (RAPP). Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says the agency launched RAPP in October 2023 to expand marketing opportunities overseas for American agricultural commodities.

“We authorized $1.2 billion in Commodity Credit Corporation funding to help American agricultural exporters diversify their footprint beyond traditional and established markets. We’ve long been a global leader in food and agricultural exports, but nearly 60 percent of our exports go to just four markets: China, Mexico, Canada, and the European Union. And as we’ve seen in recent history, they’re devastating consequences if we rely on just a few large markets.”

Vilsack says there are many opportunities to take advantage of in other countries.

“We remain committed to our established customer base around the world, but we’re also setting our sights on new growth opportunities in places like Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia, where opportunities are significant and where U.S. exporters may not have yet established a firm foothold. These are parts of the world where the GDP is rising, the middle classes are expanding, urban populations are growing, and retail food systems are becoming more modern. All of this, we believe, creates a demand for a greater variety of high-quality food and farm products.”

Senator Debbie Stabenow, chair of the Senate Ag Committee, applauded the announcement and pointed out that expanding markets is a win for everyone.

“When we look at, over the years, what’s happened is that creating new markets is critical for our producers, and ag exports have grown from $66 billion back in 1996 to more than $175 billion last year, supporting more than a million jobs on and off the farm, and today’s announcement is going to add to that.”

The initial round of RAPP funding will help recipient organizations carry out hundreds of projects encompassing a wide variety of products and markets.