Photo Courtesy of USB
U.S. farm groups pushed hard to double funding for the Market Access Program and the Foreign Market Development program in the 2018 Farm Bill. While they received a marginal increase, doubling funding should be a top priority in 2019. Annual MAP funding has remained at $200 million since 1990, and FMD funding has been $34.5 million per year even longer. The $2.5 billion cost of doubling funding is justified by soy’s need to enhance long-term export competitiveness, now more important than ever.
Much of the U.S. inland waterway system, including locks and dams on the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers, was built in the 1930s and is in critical need of replacement and upgrading. This system is key to the ability of the U.S. to compete with Brazil, the world’s largest exporter of soybeans. U.S. agriculture and other industries have pushed for funding to renovate the system for more than 20 years, but only marginal improvements have been made. Infrastructure modernization is one of the few issues where there is bipartisan agreement. The estimated $9 billion cost to upgrade the inland waterway system would pay for itself many times over.
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