WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack announced approximately $2.3 billion in additional funding from the USDA Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) for international promotion and purchases of in-kind commodities for international food aid.
Support will consist of $1.3 billion for international trade promotion activities under the Regional Agricultural Promotion Program (RAPP), building on the Agricultural Trade Promotion Program launched during the Trump Administration. It also includes $1 billion specifically to be used for purchases of additional U.S. agricultural commodities to be donated overseas in food insecure markets.
“USA Rice applauds the effort to increase funding for promotion and food aid that would not only benefit the U.S. rice industry but many people abroad as well,” said USA Rice President & CEO Betsy Ward. “While welcome news for all of agriculture, this approach is temporary and should not replace program changes that are needed for longer-term certainty in the Farm Bill, including an increase in the rice reference price in the Price Loss Coverage program, the rice farmer’s safety net, and a permanent funding increase for the export promotion and food aid programs.”
The support was announced following a request by Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and John Boozman (R-AR), chair and ranking member of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee, respectively, for use of the CCC Charter Act which authorizes the Secretary to use the CCC funds for discretionary purposes for these activities (see USA Rice Daily, September 6, 2023).
“USA Rice looks forward to engaging further with USDA to ensure that the U.S. rice industry is able to maximize these additional opportunities to grow exports and support U.S rice farming communities,” said USA Rice Chair Kirk Satterfield who farms rice in Bolivar County, Mississippi. “Additionally, recognizing that India’s rice export ban is contributing to global food insecurity, the U.S. is more than prepared to help fill that void with in-kind rice shipments this year.”
The Agricultural Trade Promotion Program (ATP) was created in 2018 to help U.S. agricultural exporters develop new markets and mitigate the adverse effects of other countries’ tariff and non-tariff barriers.
“The U.S. rice industry is well equipped to meet these new obligations, particularly with USA Rice’s success in international promotion programs and following on the heels of the wildly successful ATP Program,” said Steve Vargas, chair of the USA Rice International Promotion Committee. “We are already planning new marketing activities to help expand U.S. rice exports.”