ASA Welcomes Trade & Food Aid Support from USDA

Oct 24, 2023

Washington, D.C. Oct. 24, 2023.  The American Soybean Association applauds the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s efforts to strengthen U.S. trade and food aid by providing funds to maintain and develop markets and address global hunger. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced $2.3 billion will be allocated from the Commodity Credit Corporation, $1.3 billion of which will go toward the Regional Agriculture Promotion Program and diversification of specialty crop export markets, the balance toward international food assistance.

ASA President Daryl Cates, who grows soybeans in Illinois, said, “America’s soybean farmers rely on strong existing export markets and opportunities to open and build new markets. It can take decades to grow markets for our beans and only a matter of days in some cases to lose them, so having the funds to sufficiently support export promotion programs is something ASA and soy growers have consistently championed. And, as both an industry that participates in food aid programs and as human beings, we are pleased to see the administration looking for additional ways to help us address global food insecurity.”

Cates says he and others in the soy industry are happy to see USDA acknowledging the uncertainty that surrounds agriculture and challenges that arise from that unpredictability, and that the department has conveyed through its funding infusion the importance of market development programs.

“USDA has demonstrated that it recognizes the importance of market promotion programs. We are thankful USDA sees value in the collective efforts of the Foreign Agricultural Service and agriculture cooperators like the American Soybean Association, which are stewards of market development funding and bring vital aid programs and market expansion projects to life,” said Cates.

ASA remains committed to its trade and food aid efforts and will continue to push for doubling of Market Access Program and Foreign Market Development program funding in the 2023 Farm Bill reauthorization.

ASA utilizes funds from USDA to support the U.S. Soybean Export Council, which develops and expands markets for U.S. soybean farmers, and ASA’s World Initiative for Soy in Human Health, which work to find new and build emerging markets for soy.