Potato grower Eric Halverson was in Washington, D.C., Thursday to speak in front of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry Committee regarding the importance of the USDA export programs. Halverson is a fourth-generation farmer and CEO of Black Gold Farms in Grand Forks, North Dakota.
U.S. potato growers see fierce foreign competition in key export markets and continued access is vital for maintaining the economic health of the industry. The USDA Market Access Program (MAP) allows the U.S. to be competitive overseas through marketing and promotional activities that build commercial export markets.
Halverson spoke about MAP’s important role in this public-private partnership, noting its 28-to-1 return-on-investment. Export market development programs funded through the farm bill have contributed an average of $8.2 billion per year to farm export revenue from 1977-2014. Without the existence of MAP, exports would not have returned to positive growth last year, said Mr. Halverson.
Halverson also answered a question from Sen. Debbie Stabenow about the importance of research grant funding in the farm bill.
Halverson testified on behalf of the National Potato Council and United Fresh Produce Association. As the Senate committee’s work in preparation for the 2018 Farm Bill continues, NPC is actively engaged in providing information and outlining the importance of Farm Bill programs working in concert with U.S. trade policies.