Advocate for Full Funding For MAP & FMD

BACKGROUND

actionalertThank you for your efforts to contact your member of the U.S. House of Representatives to vote in favor of funding two of USDA’s most important initiatives, the Foreign Market Development (FMD) program and the Market Access Program (MAP).  MAP was funded under the most recent Farm Bill at $200 M per year. FMD was funded under the recent Farm Bill at $34.5 M per year. Unfortunately, both are subject to a 7% reduction by the sequester (= ~185 M and =~28 M respectively) and Congress has allowed funds to be spent for administrative costs of the program (such as salaries of employees), not just the marketing of ag products and market development itself.

These initiatives create partnerships between USDA and the private sector to gain access into foreign countries for American farm products and to promote these products to new consumers abroad.  Most of these are value-added customer goods such as dairy, beef, pork, poultry, fresh produce and food service.   MAP and FMD have been major factors in America’s trade success story in recent years and agricultural exports are important to our economy. Continued support of these programs in the face of stiffer competition to develop markets in fast-growing nations by many member countries of the EU – who spent $700 M in public funds on export promotion for agri-food products in 2011 compared to our $256 M – is vitally important.

It is possible that Rep. Chabot (R-OH) may offer an amendment that would reduce funding for the Market Access Program (MAP) by $50 million.On Tuesday, June 17 the House will return to debating and voting on amendments to the FY ’15 agriculture appropriations bill which funds MAP and FMD for the next fiscal year Oc. 1, 2014 through Sept. 30, 2015.

 

GRANGE POLICY

“The National Grange Supports integrating and coordinating existing stat and federal governments’ export marketing programs, such as the Market Access Program and Market Promotion Program, and other similar programs that were designed to develop and expand foreign markets for U.S. farm products.” (National Grange Policy, 2012 Journal of Proceedings, page 206)


CALL TO ACTION (URGENT – Deadline Monday, June 16 at 5 p.m. EST)

Call your Representative in Washington. (FIND THEIR CONTACT INFORMATION) Tell him/her foreign markets are important to American agriculture.  Ask your Representative to VOTE

1) FOR the foreign market funding levels in the bill and
2) AGAINST any amendments which would reduce foreign market funding.


SUGGESTED TALKING POINT FOR GRANGERS TO CONGRESS

“Agriculture has had a continuous positive trade surplus for more than FIVE DECADES, the only industry to make such a claim,  That surplus means adding money to the American economy, not just the 1% of our population who are growers or 16% of Americans who live in rural areas.

“For every $1 spent by the government for these programs, it’s been shown that there is an average increase of $35 in exports.  In fact, for the wheat sector alone there is a $1:$115 ratio of dollars spent using MAP or FMD to dollars returned to the U.S. economy.  That’s a huge impact for programs that we know to be well-run and administered and we hope both programs and all others under the Foreign Agricultural Service that do similar things for our ag producers and local communities can be fully funded.”


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Looking just at MAP, we can see many areas positively impacted. For information specific to FMD, please contact Amanda Leigh Brozana at abrozana@nationalgrange.org.

MAP HELPS BOOST U.S. AGRICULTURAL EXPORTS

  • The export forecast for FY 14 is estimated to be approximately $142.6 billion, which would surpass by $1.7 billion the all-time record level of $140.9 billion achieved in FY 13. Since the program was created in 1985, U.S. agricultural exports have increased by nearly 500 percent. (Source USDA)
  • Agriculture’s trade surplus was $32.4 billion in FY 12, $37.1 billion in FY 13 and is forecast to be $32.6 billion for FY 14. (Source USDA) Agriculture is still one of the few sectors of the American economy to enjoy a trade surplus, and without it the overall U.S. trade deficit would be even worse.
  • An updated study of MAP and the Foreign Market Development (FMD) Program done by IHS Global Insight showed that the increase in market development spending by government and industry during the 2002-09 period through these programs considerably increased U.S. export market share and increased the annual value of U.S. agricultural exports by $6.1 billion. Multiyear impact of the increased market development spending is equal to $35 in agricultural export gains for every additional $1 expended, a 35 to 1 return on investment. (Source: A Cost Benefit Analysis of USDA’s International Market Development Programs, IHS Global Insight (USA), Inc., March 2010).
  • World trade growth is expected to increase in 2014, and a lower dollar (compared to 2000-10) and lower production costs will likely keep U.S. agricultural products competitively priced. This reinforces the need for valuable programs, such as MAP, that help create, expand, and maintain international markets for U.S. agricultural products.

MAP PROTECTS AMERICAN JOBS AND INCREASES FARM INCOME

  • Serves as a “BUY AMERICAN” program by promoting only American-grown and produced commodities.
  • Given U.S. agricultural exports are forecast to be $142.6 billion in FY 14, about 1 million Americans will have jobs that depend on these exports, thanks in part to MAP and related programs that have helped boost U.S. agricultural exports. (Source USDA)
  • An updated USDA-commissioned study of MAP and FMD shows that over the 2002-09 period export gains associated with the programs increased the average annual level of U.S. farm cash receipts by $4.4 billion and net cash farm income by $1.5 billion. The study also shows that U.S. domestic farm support payments were reduced by roughly $54 million annually due to higher prices from increased demand abroad, thus reducing the net cost of the programs. (Source: A Cost Benefit Analysis of USDA’s International Market Development Programs, IHS Global Insight (USA), Inc., March 2010).

MAP HELPS COUNTER SUBSIDIZED FOREIGN COMPETITION

  • U.S. farmers and ranchers are competing in a very active international agri-food trade environment with many countries that invest significant public and private funds according to a major study* completed last year on behalf of several U.S. agri-food export market development organizations. (Source: An Analysis of Competitor Countries’ Market Development Programs, Agralytica Consulting, June 2013)
  • The study found that together in 2011, 12 countries and the EU central government alone spent an estimated $1.8 billion, including $700 million in public funds and $1.1 billion in private funds, on export promotion for agri-food products. For comparison, in 2011, the total U.S. export promotion public expenditure was $256 million. Compared to agricultural production value, the U.S. public spending on export market development is among the lowest relative to these 12 nations.
  • Eliminating or reducing funding for MAP in the face of continued highly subsidized international competition would put American farmers and workers at a substantial competitive disadvantage.
  • Market development, including programs such as MAP, is not expected to be subject to World Trade Organization (WTO) disciplines. Reducing our investments in market promotion while our competitors continue to increase theirs will put our producers at a decided disadvantage in competing for international sales.

MAP ILLUSTRATES SUCCESSFUL PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP

  • MAP is administered on a reimbursable cost-share basis, specifically targeting small businesses, farmer cooperatives, and non-profit trade organizations. While government is an important partner in this effort, industry contributions are now estimated to represent over 60% of total annual spending on market development and promotion, up from roughly 45% in 1996 and less than 30% in 1991, which demonstrates industry commitment to the effort (Source USDA). Without the incentive of MAP funding through this important cost-share program, it is highly unlikely that private funds could be attracted to form a strategic and coordinated U.S. agricultural export promotion effort.

Annual Master’s Address

National Grange partners with AUVSI

AUVSIThe National Grange has partnered with AUVSI to research public opinion regarding unmanned drone systems. Please participate in their survey to help us gather information on this important issue. Details follow below.
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Take our AUVSI partner survey for a chance to win a $200 Amazon.com gift card!
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AUVSI, the world’s largest non-profit organization devoted exclusively to advancing the unmanned systems and robotics community, is conducting an anonymous survey to better understand how they can support the Agricultural industry. Click here to take the survey!

In annual address, National Grange President calls for fiscal responsibility, Farm Bill, agriculture education at all levels

BOISE, Idaho – On Tuesday, Nov. 13, National Grange President Ed Luttrell delivered his annual address, laying out priorities for the nation as viewed by the 145-year-old agriculture and rural America advocacy organization.

In his speech, given to a crowd of nearly 175 people gathered for the opening of the 146th Annual National Grange Convention, Luttrell focused on seven major topics.

Luttrell focused on issues of the financial health of our nation, expanding regulations that cost taxpayers money and create a business environment that cannot take risks.

Luttrell expressed the need for a Farm Bill, as well as continued safety testing for genetically modified crops but no need to label GMO products.

He also called for a re-evaluation of assumptions about education and inclusion of agriculture and vocational training at all levels.

Luttrell said the Grange opposes reductions of Postal Service to rural America and in a related rural access issue, said the Grange continues to support the expansion of broadband into rural areas.

In his speech, Luttrell stressed the need for Congress to get to work immediately to save us from the “fiscal cliff” and initiate measures of fiscal responsibility.

“It is long past time for our elected officials to wake up, to realize their fiscal responsibility to every American, especially our children and grandchildren,” Luttrell said.

Luttrell said it is imperative that elected officials follow “four fundamental truths”: living within our means is necessary for the nation to prosper; free markets work best to find solutions and provide the best services; Congress should do away with publicly-funded pension programs for elected officials, programs that encourage people to become career politicians; and economic markets hate instability, especially created by continuously fluctuating taxes and regulation.

Luttrell said the nation will “begin its journey back to fiscal health and prosperity” when politicians make decisions based on these truths.

Fiscal health also requires scrutiny of expanded regulation, Luttrell said, noting the “increase of economically significant regulations, on top of massive regulations already in place, is larger than the GDP of many countries.”

“The high cost arising from these regulations is too often passed onto the states,” Luttrell said. “However, it is often the consumer who bears the burden of any costly regulations.”

Luttrell said the Grange supports “necessary regulations needed to provide reasonable safety and peace of mind to American workers, families and inventors. However, we opposed any regulation that seeks a zero tolerance of risk.”

“Our great nation was founded by men who took risks because they understood that without risk, there can never be success,” Luttrell said.

“While regulatory agencies continue to move to sterilize our environment and lives, Congress has failed to ensure the health and well-being of American agriculture by allowing the September 30 deadline to come and go without the passage of a 2012 Farm Bill,” Luttrell said.

“Agriculture should never become a partisan football, as every American depends on agriculture.”

He urged all Grange members and those concerned about agriculture to contact their elected representatives “in order to encourage them to pass the 2012 Farm Bill during the lame duck session.”

Luttrell said much of the tension between consumers and producers, including the need for both large and small producers and the concept and practice of genetically modified foods, is the lack of education related to agriculture.

“In order to spread the truth of agriculture, the Grange continues to call for wide-scale basic agriculture education at the primary levels and in post-secondary education related to agriculture production, research and policy,” Luttrell said.

Luttrell said research is critical in regards to the safety and efficacy of genetically modified organisms, but labeling of such would be “misleading” and would falsely imply “differences where none exist.”

Luttrell also called on schools to teach financial literacy and parents and students not to forget the value of vocational programs and need for trained tradespeople.

Luttrell said, “It is difficult for graduates to become contributing members of society while they are dragged down by a lifetime of financial struggle,” by way of student loan debt and an economy that isn’t creating jobs for many new graduates from four-year programs.

“Grange members stand in support of programs that teach basic skills in agriculture, metalwork, mechanics, construction and technology in practical ways,” Luttrell said.

Because rural customers rely so heavily on mail delivery, Luttrell said it is imperative that Congress work to save the USPS by either eliminating the prepayment requirement for future employee retirement health benefits or by releasing USPS from congressional oversight so they may make decisions based on market conditions.

“A sustainable and prospering U.S. Postal Service is a must for rural America,” Luttrell said.

Finally, Luttrell stressed the need for equitable access through rural broadband and noted that the Grange will work with legislators to ensure Universal Service Funds be used to bring that broadband to homes and businesses in rural America.

To see the full speech, go to the National Grange’s YouTube channel or read the transcript.

Established in 1867, The National Grange, a nonpartisan, nonprofit fraternal organization, is the oldest agricultural and rural community service organization. With more than 2,100 local chapters, the Grange has evolved into the nation’s leading rural advocacy organization and a major benefactor to local communities. There are more than 160,000 members across the United States.

New Grange to be paperless all of 2013

By Amanda Leigh Brozana | abrozana@nationalgrange.org
National Grange Communications Director

Due to budgetary constraints, the National Grange has announced that it will not produce a printed edition of the New Grange in 2013.

The decision was made by the National Grange Board of Directors and approved by the delegate body as part of the passage of the 2013 National Grange Budget during the 146th Annual Convention in Boise, Idaho, held Nov. 11-17 for delegates.

National Grange Communications Director Amanda Leigh Brozana said the department is committed to providing information to all members through a regularly scheduled e-newsletter service, but said dissemination of that information will require the assistance of each member in this effort.

“If you know members who do not have email or the internet, please volunteer or find someone in your Grange who will print and distribute the e-newsletter editions to members,” Brozana said. “Every member who has an email address should be encouraged to sign up for our mailing list. Members can choose what products they want to receive, such as Grange news, benefits information and fraternal concerns.”

Brozana said about 9,000 people currently subscribe by email to the National Grange mailing list, while only about 8,500 were on the traditional printed New Grange mailing list.

“And a lot of those 8,500 copies weren’t going to members. They were going to old addresses that had never been updated by secretaries or members, some were going to members who had passed away and their families thought the Grange would know so they never canceled the subscription,” Brozana said.

Newsletters include many pieces of helpful information, including new programs, benefits, sales and legislative briefings.

“Members who are unable to receive this information miss out on much of what their dues were meant to cover,” Brozana said.

Brozana said the National Grange will adhere to the following publication schedule for 2013, producing e-newsletter editions during the following weeks:

Jan.  7 & 22
Feb. 4 & 25
March 11 & 25
April 8 & 22
May 6 & 20
June 3 & 17
July 1 & 22
Aug. 12 & 26
Sept. 9 &23
Oct. 7 & 21

November will include a convention round up featuring daily newsletters from the 147th Annual Convention Dec. 9

Brozana asked that all members receiving communications currently from the National Grange spread the word about  e-newsletters and encourage their Grange Brothers and Sisters to SUBSCRIBE in order to get on the mailing list.

Brozana also encouraged members to submit articles or story tips for the e-newsletter online at www.nationalgrange.com/news/submitsubscribe or by sending the information directly to abrozana@nationalgrange.org.

Today is kick-off to new Membership Campaign

By Amanda Leigh Brozana | abrozana@nationalgrange.org
National Grange Communications Director

In the Grange, 13 is a special number. Each Grange must have 13 members, and every Grange has 13 officers, plus its executive committee.

With 2013 just around the corner, and a serious need to see membership growth in the ranks of every local Grange across the nation, the Membership Department is rolling out a new, time-sensitive campaign using social media to encourage membership.

Called the 13Second Campaign, the initiative encourages all members using social media such as Facebook and Twitter to post a personal status or tweet on the 13th of every month from December 2012 through December 2013 – a total of at least 13 posts – that tell a personal story of what the Grange means to you and encouraging non-members to ask for more information or to join.

Membership/Leadership Director Michael Martin said the campaign allows every member to show their commitment and take ownership in growing the Grange.

“Growing our membership must be a prior­ity of every Grange and every Grange member,” Martins said. “This grassroots campaign will draw attention to the positive personal impact the Grange has made on our members’ lives.”

Martin said the campaign modernizes and works from the concept Granges have learned and discussed for years: the elevator speech.

“I ask that members across the country, that means you personally, take time – about 13 seconds – on the 13th of each month, starting today to post to your social networks a kind of social media elevator post,” Martin said. “These posts should tell a brief anecdote about the Grange’s importance in your community and in your life, and they should encourage your social media friends to ask you more about our Order.”

Grangers who participate are encouraged to end each of their tweets or posts with #13Seconds so the National Grange can see how many messages were posted, shared and discussed, determine what stories and anecdotes seem to draw the most attention and assist in other areas of membership and recruitment.

“I challenge you to do your part by actively participating in this campaign. Actively tell people about your positive Grange experience and ask at least 13 people to join the Grange between now and December 13, 2013,” Martin said.

If you participate and have success, Martin asks that you share the information with him by email at mmartin@nationalgrange.org. Include in the email your name and name and number of your Grange. Include the post that prompted the new member to join and the new member’s name and Grange.

Martin said the National Grange will recognize everyone who reports success as part of this campaign during the 2013 Annual National Grange Convention.

“Over the next 13 months, if, together, we bring in 100 net new members each month, we will achieve a net gain in membership for the Grange as a whole. Together, in these next 13 months, we will grow the Grange,” Martin said.

New President of Delaware State Grange Elected

DOVER - Newark native Michael K. Lynch was elected the new Delaware State Grange President at the group’s annual convention Dec. 8.

Lynch, 60, has been a Grange member for more than 20 years, serving in most offices at his local Centre Grange No. 11 in Centreville where his wife, Helen, and her family have long been members.

Lynch called the Grange a “great organization that allows the entire family to be involved” and said he looks forward to inviting more families to become a part of the nearly 140-year-old State Grange.

Previously Lynch served as state Grange Vice President under immediate former President William “Chip” Narvel Jr., who was recently honored by the National FFA for his exceptional support and personal commitment in advancing agriculture education, and awarded the Honorary American FFA Degree.

After being elected President, Lynch said he looked forward to working with Granges across the state to modernize communication and electronic connection between local Grange and the State and National offices, to providing members the best possible support and preparing short and long-term plans for growth and continued success of the Grange in Delaware.

“I see a lot of opportunity here to expand into areas we have been before but are not now,” Lynch said. “I think we have the opportunity to grow in many ways, with connections to FFA and 4-H, and reconnecting with our communities.”

Lynch said the Grange serves as a very positive force in a state filled with agriculture production and a population that understands so little about the industry.

“So many think food comes from the grocery story,” Lynch said. “We have not only the opportunity but the burden of informing people about the importance and truth of agriculture.”

Membership Highlights

By Michael J. Martin | mmartin@nationalgrange.org
National Grange Leadership/Membership Development Director

Last month, at the 146th annual session of the National Grange in Boise, Idaho, I shared membership highlights with the delegate body. I want to share this information with each of you in this newsletter.

Hearty thanks and kudos for the hard, steady work of our State Masters and Membership Directors. As a result of their efforts, nine states realized net gains in membership this year! Oklahoma topped the list with a net gain of 272 new members and a percentage growth of 15.9 percent. Idaho, Massachusetts, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia also had net gains in membership.

We have 2,048 local Granges as of the second quarter of 2011. Of that total, 461 local Granges realized net gains in membership. Another 489 Granges held steady; that is, they neither gained nor lost members last year. Of our local Granges, 46 percent are holding steady or growing.

We have 75,320 Fraternal Members, 86,135 Supportive Members, 2,193 Associate Members and 45 E-members for a total membership of 163,693 as of the second quarter of 2012.

At the local level, kudos to Feather River No. 440 in California with the highest net gain in the nation of 85 new members. Their Grange grew from 48 to 133 members in the past year. Springfield Grange No. 523 in California had the highest percentage gain at 222 percent. They grew from 37 to 119 members. Chester Royal Grange No. 2181 in Iowa had a 218 percent percentage gain. They grew from 11 to 35 members. Nationally, 461 Granges had net gains in membership totaling 2,979 net new members, and we know many more members joined our 2,048 Community Granges.

The First Law of Grange Communications: You’re doin it even if you’re not

By Amanda Leigh Brozana | abrozana@nationalgrange.org
National Grange Communications Director

Like gravity in physics, communication has laws.

An essential one that we all should remember is that “One cannot not communicate.” Double negative aside, the statement is poignant. No matter if we choose to create flyers, write articles, hang banners, publish newsletters, build websites, create social media profiles or give speeches or not, we are telling a broader public something about our organization.

If we choose not to in some way spread the message of the Grange, we are sending a message that the Grange is not worth our efforts.

Because of this, it is important that every Grange and every Grange member make communicating positively about our organization and your local Granges a priority as we look to 2013.

As of early 2012, every Grange was provided a free websites and email by the National Grange.  We have also worked to encourage Granges to take advantage of free social networking sites such as Facebook to create pages (not profiles or groups) that are public and share the images, stories and details about our Granges with the communities in which we are a part.

Taking advantage of these mediums tells the public that the Grange is a place where things happen, people enjoy their interactions and want others to be a part of the fun. Without embracing new technologies, we tell others they are not welcome in our clique.

All Granges should create a communications plan for 2013 as a way to spread your message, our message and as a result, potentially bring in new members. Part of that plan should include social media, and can include specifics like “being part of the 13Seconds Campaign.”

The Communications Department will offer many outreach sessions this year, in the form of communication weekend workshops in different areas of the country, monthly conference call meetings and more. We hope you will take the time to provide your ideas, suggestions and comments to the department including how we can best help your Grange.  Please send comments and suggestions to abrozana@nationalgrange.org.

The Department’s conference call schedule is as follows:

Jan 29: Facebook Pages
Feb 26: Optimizing your Grange website
March 26: Promoting Grange Month
April 30: Priming for Post-Grange Month Success
May 28: Telling the story of our American Values. Hometown Roots.
June 25: Recruiting and Managing Interns
July 30: Programming for Success
Aug 27: Creating Podcasts
Sept 24: Sustainable Coverage Strategies
Oct 29: Making Policy News
Nov 26: Recipes for Success
CANCELED IN DECEMBER (due to New Year’s Eve)

Every few weeks, the department will be rolling out new programs, services and supportive measures. We hope you’ll do your part and direct the message of the Grange in 2013.

National Grange seeks interns for legislative, communications, programs and historical research/preservation

By Amanda Leigh Brozana | abrozana@nationalgrange.org
National Grange Communications Director

The National Grange is seeking interns at its headquarters in Washington, D.C., located just one block from the White House.

The Grange building is easily accessible from the Farragut North and Farragut West metro stations as well as a number of bus routes.

Communications Director Amanda Leigh Brozana said the National Grange is in the process of several large-scale projects and seek an organized, reliable, confident individual to become a part of the team for the spring, summer or fall.

“While there will be days of endless scanning, data entry and general organizational work, the intern will also help to produce material for our legislative, communications, events, trademark/brand management, membership and sales departments,” Brozana said. “The intern will get to interact with some of the best people in the country – our members – and learn more about the legislative and lobbying process, public relations, programs planning, fundraising, graphic communications, event planning and marketing.”

Internships are open to all student levels and all majors, interns must be at least 18 years old, eligible to work in the U.S. and willing to submit to a background check, as is the policy of our organization, Brozana said.

This is an unpaid internship, though MetroBenefits – compensation for commuting to and from work – may be available.  Additional scholarship opportunities may also be available for interns. Interns with a research interest may also submit ideas for projects that could garner support.

A specific interest is in candidates who have an interest in writing for media, historical preservation and research, legislative research and advocacy assistance or database administration.

Those interested should reply by email at abrozana@nationalgrange.org with a resume and contact information as well as your prospective start and end date.  More information will be provided during a follow-up interview.