Opening Statement: Subcommittee Chairman David Rouzer Livestock & Foreign Agriculutre Subcommittee Hearing: The Next Farm Bill: International Market Development
Remarks as prepared for delivery:
Good afternoon, and thank you all for gathering here this afternoon as the Committee continues its work to reauthorize the Farm Bill in advance of its expiration next fall.
As was explained in this morning’s Conservation and Forestry subcommittee hearing, the plan is for each subcommittee to hold at least two hearings exploring the Farm Bill programs and issues under its respective jurisdiction.
This afternoon, we will focus on a slate of programs that, unfortunately, do not get much attention until they become targets for cuts during consideration of Farm Bills and appropriations measures. Those are the trade promotion and market development programs administered by USDA.
The goal today is to change that narrative, by giving a wide variety of organizations who receive funding from those programs a platform to discuss the continued need for the programs and the innovative ways in which they use them to establish and enhance markets for U.S. products overseas.
I also look forward to hearing from a distinguished economist on today’s panel about the economic benefits that the two largest programs—MAP and FMD—generate within our own borders.
Given the uncertainty of the future of our existing trade agreements, and the blatant disregard of WTO commitments by a handful of our global competitors, I see tremendous value in these effective and proven methods of gaining new access for U.S. goods abroad and developing those market relationships. These programs truly embody an “America first” policy.
From improving customer trust in U.S. beef in South Korea, to developing export markets for ice cream in China, to putting our cotton exports on a more level playing field with our global competitors, I am impressed with the overarching benefits that market development funding brings to the U.S. agricultural industry as a whole.
I look forward to learning more today about the success of the USDA programs that provide such opportunities, but am certainly open to suggestions on to how to improve them moving forward.
Again, thank you all for being here, and with that, I yield to the Ranking Member for his opening remarks.