OPINIONThe U.S. Wheat Associates and the National Association of Wheat Growers organizations are pleased that U.S. wheat growers now have the opportunity to increase efforts to expand export-market access with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Jan. 31 announcement awarding $200 million to 57 organizations through the Agriculture Trade Promotion program. The U.S. Wheat Associates was awarded $8.25 million, which will be distributed during the next three years.
Administered by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service, the Agriculture Trade Promotion program is one of three USDA programs within the Trump Administration’s trade-mitigation package. The package was created to ease the effects of recent trade retaliation against U.S. farmers and exporters. The new funds will support export-market development programs led by U.S. trade associations, cooperatives and other industry-affiliated organizations.
“U.S. wheat growers are facing tough times right now with the impact of retaliatory tariffs putting a strain on the export market and threatening many decades worth of market development,” said Chris Kolstad, U.S. Wheat Associates chairman and a wheat grower from Ledger, Montana. “We appreciate the recognition that farmers need help to manage this additional risk. This program is a positive step forward and our people are ready to get to work.”
Jimmie Musick, National Association of Wheat Growers president and a wheat farmer from Sentinel, Oklahoma, said, “With the United States exporting half of the wheat crop it grows, programs like the Agricultural Trade Promotion program are crucial for our farmers to remain competitive in the global market. We welcome (the) news that our sister organization U.S. Wheat Associates was awarded significant funding for trade-mitigation activities. This funding will provide some relief to the adverse impact wheat has felt since the United States placed tariffs on Chinese goods, opening the door for retaliation. We hope to see these affected markets opened again quickly.”
U.S. wheat growers have a long history of recognizing the value of export-market development by supporting the successful public-private partnership between U.S. Wheat Associates state wheat-commission members and the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service. Each year growers contribute a portion of their wheat sales, which qualifies U.S. Wheat Associates to apply for matching funds through Foreign Agricultural Service programs like the Market Access Program and the Foreign Market Development program.