Farm Bill

Peterson Says Trade Only a Small Part of Farm Bill

DanAgri-Business, Trade


While trade is a major part of the success of American agriculture, former long-time Minnesota Congressman Collin Peterson speaking at the recent U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) Spring Conference said trade is only a small part of the farm bill.

“The trade things in the farm bill are minuscule. I mean, the MAP (Market Access) Program is two-hundred-million dollars a year. So, in the whole scheme of things it’s not a big deal,” he said. “The Foreign Market Development Program is thirty-five million, and then we’ve got these GSM programs that finance exports into developing countries, and half of that goes to Latin America, and half of it goes to Asia. It’s filled with a billion dollars of loans, which is also not, in the scheme of things, a huge thing.”

The GSM program is the Export Credit Guarantee Program which provides credit guarantees to encourage the financing of commercial exports of U.S. agricultural products.

Peterson said even if lawmakers wanted to increase the funding for trade programs in the farm bill, finding that money would be difficult.

“I think there are people out there wanting to increase those things, but again, I don’t know where the money’s going to come from. But they’ll probably end up tinkering and making things work a little bit better,” he said.

Peterson said there is a better option than farm bill programs when it comes to trade.

“Probably a bigger deal is, you know, what does the administration do in terms of promoting trade? There’s been some criticism that they haven’t been doing what they should be doing, that they haven’t put enough emphasis on it. They have the money to do whatever they have to do or whatever they can do,” Peterson said. “I think the best opportunity for exports and trade is with the administration, whether you like it or not, that’s where they really have money where they could do something that would be significant.”

Sabrina Halvorson
National Correspondent / AgNet Media, Inc.

Sabrina Halvorson is an award-winning journalist, broadcaster, and public speaker who specializes in agriculture. She primarily reports on legislative issues and hosts The AgNet News Hour and The AgNet Weekly podcast. Sabrina is a native of California’s agriculture-rich Central Valley.