Subcommittee Examines How to Increase Export Opportunities for American Producers

Apr 7, 2011

Tamara Hinton, 202.225.0184

WASHINGTON – Today, Rep. Timothy V. Johnson (R-IL), Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee's Subcommittee on Rural Development, Research, Biotechnology, and Foreign Agriculture, held a public hearing to review market promotion programs and their effectiveness on expanding exports of U.S. agricultural products.

U.S. Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agricultural Service operates five market promotion programs designed to tackle non-tariff trade barriers. The Market Access Program, Foreign Market Development Program, Emerging Markets Program, Quality Samples Program, and the Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops program are each designed to assist various commodities and sectors.

"At a time when the country is struggling to recover from a dramatic economic downturn, U.S. agricultural exports have been expanded through the hard work of our producers, exporters, and those who work to create new opportunities in foreign markets. The testimony we heard today underscored the importance of maintaining an aggressive approach to expanding exports. Overcoming foreign trade barriers continues to be a major challenge for our producers, and we look forward to working with the agricultural industry to ensure they can effectively meet these challenges," said Chairman Timothy V. Johnson.

"The export market promotion programs we examined today are vital tools for agricultural producers in California’s Central Valley and across the country. These programs help promote a free and fair global trading system that levels the playing field for American producers and provide economic gains of $35 for every $1 invested. I am pleased the subcommittee was able to learn more about these programs so we can work together to maintain and strengthen them," Ranking Member Jim Costa said.

Written testimony provided by the witnesses is available below and can be found on the Committee's website by clicking here.

Witness List:

Panel I

Mr. John Brewer, Administrator, Foreign Agricultural Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C.

Panel II

Mr. Michael Wootton, Senior Vice President Corporate Relations, Sunkist Growers, on behalf of National Council of Farmer Cooperatives and the Coalition to Promote U.S. Agricultural Exports, Sherman Oaks, California

Mr. Stephen L. Censky, Chief Executive Officer, American Soybean Association, St. Louis, Missouri

Mr. Thad Lively, Senior Vice President, Trade Access, U.S. Meat Export Federation, Denver, Colorado

Mr. Tim Hamilton, Executive Director, Food Export Association of the Midwest USA, Chicago, Illinois

Mr. George Nikolich, Vice President, Technical Operations, Gerawan Farming, Inc., on behalf of the California Grape & Tree Fruit League, Reedley, California