Blue Diamond Growers seek more money for export promotion

The introduction of the CREAATE Act in the Senate follows the House version, H.R. 2321, introduced May 3 by Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA) and Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME). CREAATE seeks to expand the successful Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development (FMD) program to boost trade’s impact on U.S. farmer profitability and the U.S. economy.

“With over 70 percent of California’s almond crop going to export, trade remains vital to the long-term health and viability of our almond growers, as well as the thousands of supporting jobs that economic activity sustains,” said Alicia Rockwell, Blue Diamond’s Director for Communications and Public Affairs. “The industry-government investment partnership that the Market Access Program represents is an essential part of Blue Diamond’s ongoing trailblazing efforts to develop new markets and grow existing markets abroad, to the benefit of the entire almond industry. With the global marketplace becoming ever more competitive, and with our competitors aggressively promoting their products around the world, the need for the expanded funding the CREAATE Act would deliver has never been greater.”

The bill would increase statutory funding for the programs, which are now authorized at $200 million per year for MAP and $34.5 million per year for FMD. Both have faced stagnant funding and eroding real dollar impact due to inflation, sequestration, administrative costs and increased global competition. CREAATE calls for phasing in additional annual funding for MAP to $400 million in fiscal year (FY) 2023 and additional annual funding for FMD to $69 million in FY 2023. A November 2016 econometric study by Informa Economics, IEG, found that increased public funding for MAP and FMD, coupled with increasing private contributions from farmers and others, would increase farm cash income by $500 million to $700 million, and create up to 85,000 new and part-time jobs.