By John Freitag
What do MAP and FMD stand for and why are they important for Agriculture?
FMD stands for Foreign Market Development. This program helps to create, expand and maintain long-term export markets for U.S. agricultural products. Under this program, the Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS) partners with U.S. agricultural producers and processors, who are represented by non-profit commodity or trade associations called “cooperators,” to promote U.S. commodities overseas.
MAP stands for Market Access Program. Through the Market Access Program, FAS (Foreign Agricultural Service of USDA) partners with U.S. agricultural trade associations, cooperatives, state and regional trade groups and small businesses to SHARE the costs of overseas marketing and promotional activities that help build commercial export markets for U.S. agricultural products and commodities. You may ask why do I have SHARE capitalized and underlined? This is to emphasize this particular word because in most cases, the Federal Government matches dollar for dollar the amount of money that the Wisconsin Beef Council appropriates for foreign market promotion when it is done through the United States Meat Export Federation (USMEF). In addition, USMEF generally requires the cooperating store, market or organization to match this funding and so the amount of money that we have appropriated is usually tripled in value. This type of partner marketing adds additional value to the amount of money that the Wisconsin Beef Council expends for marketing your product in a foreign market that we would otherwise likely be unable to enter.
These acronyms are important for agriculture because they are related to gaining foreign market access for our beef producers. We have little problem selling the middle meats (strip steaks, loin cuts or cuts from the round. But the variety meats (liver, tongue, tripe, offal, etc.) that are part of our beef supply have little demand in the United States but overseas it is a different story. Different cultures have different tastes and thus some of the cuts of beef that are underutilized in our country have great value in other parts of the world. The value can vary, but right now, $270 to $300 of the total value of a beef animal is attributed to the foreign market.
The growth of the middle class in a number of these countries is increasing quite rapidly and that presents an opportunity for U.S. beef producers. As these countries start to become more affluent, they want to buy beef and most importantly U.S. grain fed beef. They know the United States produces the best tasting, most wholesome and safest beef on the market. This has been demonstrated most recently in Korea where Costco has just switched all of their stores over to exclusively, 100% US Beef. This has resulted in an increase of beef sales by 60%. The Chairman of the Cattlemen’s Beef board was on a trade mission to the far East and talked to the butchers first hand at one of the Costco stores in Korea. They told him that they had 28 butchers working that day and by 3:00 pm that afternoon they had refilled the meat case 3 times and they were still working to refill it a fourth time. This was a couple of weeks after Costco had swiched all of it Korean stores over to U.S. beef.
While talking to the US Embassy personnel, he also learned that the Korean government is trying to upgrade the diet of their elderly because their diets are deficient in protein; not unlike that of the United States. Research tells us that the majority of our diets have an excess of everything except protein. Thus, the Korean government is working to solve this problem. Here again, beef, containing 10 B vitamins and 25 grams of protein can come to the rescue. What better protein than beef, that has the most-dense nutrient package of any protein to help decrease their protein needs and still give them plenty of room in their diet for the other important components of a healthy diet?
This does not only add value to the beef market, but also adds value to other agricultural commodities such as corn and soybeans. If you take into account the value of the export market and how much corn was fed to both cattle and hogs that went into the export market, you could figure that value to be near $.45/bushel. Not a small piece of change in today’s market.
If you feel that the value that you receive from the export market whether it be from cattle, hogs or some other commodity is important to your bottom line, go ahead and make the decision to call your Congressman or woman and let them know how important these two acronyms are to your farming operation.
2018 budgeting decisions are being discussed and will be made in the near future. You have a chance to provide some input, don’t miss this opportunity.
BEEF. IT’S WHAT’S FOR DINNER!!!!