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Coburn, ag export groups battle over MAP funding

Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla.

Sen. Tom Coburn


Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., released a report today on subsidies to corporations for overseas advertising under the Market Access Program and has introduced an amendment to reduce funding for it, but agriculture export groups issued a statement that they will oppose it.

The report, “Treasure MAP: The Market Access Program’s Bounty of Waste, Loot and Spoils Plundered from Taxpayers,” highlights that more than $2 billion in taxpayer dollars that has been spent to indirectly subsidize the advertising costs of companies such as Welch’s, Sunkist, and Blue Diamond.

The report also notes that benefits have also flowed to agricultural trade groups whose members include Tyson Foods, Purina, Hershey’s, Georgia-Pacific and Jack Daniels.

Eighty groups that benefit from the export programs wrote Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and ranking member Pat Roberts, R-Kan., on Wednesday that they are opposed to Coburn’s proposal to reduce annual MAP funding by $40 million and prohibit the use of MAP funds for certain activities.

U.S. Wheat Associates and the National Association of Wheat Growers signed the letter and issued the statement.

MAP “has been tremendously successful and extremely cost-effective in helping maintain and expand U.S. agricultural exports, protect and create American jobs, strengthen farm income and help to offset the government-supported advantages afforded foreign competitors,” the organizations said.

“We strongly urge that MAP continue to be funded in S. 3240 [the farm bill] at no less than $200 million annually, which is the same level as in the current farm bill,” the statement said.