The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will be awarding $200 million to 57 different organizations through the Agricultural Trade Promotion Program (ATP). The program is intended to enhance further expansion into new export markets as one of the three programs being offered by USDA to address the negative impact of increased tariffs. Multiple trade associations, cooperatives, and other industry organizations all applied for the program between September 4 and November 2.
“At USDA, we are always looking to expand existing markets or open new ones, so we are proud to make good on the third leg of the President’s promise to America’s farmers,” U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said in a press release. “This infusion will help us develop other markets and move us away from being dependent on one large customer for our agricultural products. This is seed money, leveraged by hundreds of millions of dollars from the private sector, that will help to increase our agricultural exports.”
Several groups based in California that applied will be receiving various levels of funding. A total of nearly $16.5 million will be divided among the California Fresh Fruit Association, California Agricultural Export Council, Sunkist Growers, Inc, California Cherry Marketing and Research Board, California Olive Committee, Blue Diamond Growers, California Pear Advisory Board, California Strawberry Commission, Cal-Pure Produce, California Table Grape Commission, California Walnut Commission, and the Almond Board of California.
“We were pleased to see the large demand for participation in the program, and truly got some out-of-the-box ideas that we are hopeful will expand our global footprint,” Perdue said of the trade promotion program applicants. “We examined all applications carefully, considered our ranking criteria, and awarded the funds in order to make the best use of taxpayer dollars in growing agricultural trade.”
The $200 million allocated for the ATP comes from the $12 billion authorized in the trade mitigation package that was announced by Secretary Perdue in September 2018. USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) evaluated all of the applications according to criteria which included a short timeframe for impact, the potential for export growth and direct hardship related to the increased tariffs.