Ag Policy Blog
Chris Clayton DTN Ag Policy Editor

Friday 02/14/14

Trade and Humanitarian Aid in the Farm Bill

Trade programs under the Agricultural Act of 2014 have a 10-year score of $3.57 billion in mandatory spending. Trade programs got a $139 million bump in mandatory spending in the bill as well.

Most key trade and humanitarian programs are reauthorized.

Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs: USDA will reorganize within a year and establish a new undersecretary specifically to deal with ongoing trade barriers.

Market Access Program: reauthorized through 2018 with $200 million a year in mandatory spending. MAP allows groups to do promotional and education projects overseas. Last year, MAP accounted for $173.7 million in funding to a broad array of groups, according to the Foreign Agricultural Service.

Foreign Market Development Cooperator Program: also reauthorized with $34.5 million a year in mandatory spending.

Export Credit Guarantees: the bill reduced loan guarantees times to up to 24 months and gives the Agriculture Secretary more authority in approving those loans. The bill sets aside up to $5.5 billion annually for such loans. Provisions also seek to make sure the U.S. is meeting its World Trade Organization settlement agreement with Brazil.

Food for Peace: The bill boosts the allowable administrative costs for NGOs to 20% of the total funds available in the program. The bill also establishes higher standards for food qualify following a Government Accountability Office report citing nutritional deficiencies in some food. The bill also seeks to ensure that selling donations doesn't cause problems with local markets in those countries. At least $350 million annually can be used for non-emergency food assistance.

Farmer-to-Farmer Program: Going back to the 1985 farm bill, the program provides technical assistance with farmers from the U.S. visiting others in development countries. The new bill establishes $15 million a year in funding.

McGovern-Dole International Food for Education Program is reauthorized.

Local and Regional food aid Procurement (LRP): Following up on a pilot project in the last farm bill, new provisions authorizes appropriations of up to $80 million each year for buying food aid in local regions. Preference should be given to groups working under the McGovern-Dole program.

Procurement and Transportation: Authorizes $15 million a year for funding the shipment of U.S. commodities for food aid.

Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops: Funds $9 million to address export barriers for specialty crops.

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Posted at 1:26PM CST 02/14/14 by Chris Clayton
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