October 19, 2017

Duckworth Co-Sponsors Legislation to Support American Farmers Competing in Global Agricultural Markets


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] - U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) joined U.S. Senators Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Angus King (I-ME) and Susan Collins (R-NH) in co-sponsoring bipartisan legislation to expand access to new markets for Illinois farmers who sell their goods in an increasingly competitive global economy. The Cultivating Revitalization by Expanding American Agricultural Trade and Exports (CREAATE) Act would provide long overdue funding increases to two U.S. Department of Agriculture export promotion programs that generate outstanding return on investment for taxpayers, the Market Access Program (MAP) and the Foreign Market Development Program (FMDP). Between 1977 and 2014, these programs generated a net return of $28.30 for every dollar invested.

"Illinois farmers and ranchers count on export promotion programs like MAP and FMDP as they sell corn, soy and other agricultural products around the globe," said Senator Duckworth. "Revitalizing these programs will make it easier for Illinois' farmers and ranchers to find markets for their goods and help ensure that the United States remains an international agricultural leader."

Under the CREAATE Act, funding for the Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development Program (FMDP) would double over five years. FMDP funding would increase from $34.5 million to $69 million by FY 2023 while MAP funding would increase from $200 million to $400 million. These programs have not received an increase in funding since the 2002 Farm Bill.

"Now more than ever, we need to invest in export and market development opportunities like those presented by the Foreign Market Development program and Market Access Program to build global demand and help farmers' bottom lines," said Justin Durdan, Illinois Corn Growers President and a farmer from Streator, Illinois. "Senator Duckworth's decision to co-sponsor this bipartisan legislation indicates to us that she has a strong understanding of the importance of export markets to Illinois corn farmers, as we export more corn than any other state. As we're bringing in another corn harvest here in Illinois, it is good to know that the Senator has our backs when it comes to building export markets."

In May, U.S. Representatives Dan Newhouse (R-WA) and Chellie Pingree (D-ME) introduced companion legislation in the House in of Representatives.

"Supporting market access for farmers like me and my neighbors is critical to our success and the Illinois economy," said Lynn Rohrscheib, Illinois Soybean Growers chairwoman and a farmer from Fairmount, Ill. "Sixty percent of the soybeans grown in Illinois are exported each year with a value estimated at $3 billion. We are grateful to Sen. Duckworth for recognizing the value of exports to Illinois and supporting the CREAATE Act."