On Thursday, U.S. Senator Tina Smith (DFL-MN) continued her fight to open new international markets for Minnesota farm products by throwing her support behind bipartisan legislation to help farmers, rural cooperatives and small businesses sell more exports abroad. The Expanding Agricultural Exports Act is estimated to increase agricultural exports by $7.4 billion by doubling funding for the advertising programs of agricultural goods in foreign countries.
In addition to Senator Smith, the bipartisan, bicameral legislation was reintroduced by Senators Angus King (I-ME), Joni Ernst (R-IA), and Representative Dan Newhouse (R-WA).
The Expanding Agricultural Export Act would double authorized funding levels for the Market Access Program and the Foreign Market Development Program to $400 million and $69 million respectively. The funds are used to reimburse agricultural organizations for a portion of the cost of carrying out overseas marketing and promotional activities, such as consumer promotions.
The two programs have opened new markets for small businesses across the country and these programs generate a net return of $24.50 for every dollar invested and support 225,800 full and part time jobs nationwide.