Jul 18, 2017Potato grower supports trade at farm bill hearing in D.C.
Potato grower Eric Halverson was in Washington, D.C., July 13 to speak in front of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee regarding the importance of the USDA export programs. Halverson is a fourth-generation farmer and CEO of Black Gold Farms in Grand Forks, North Dakota.
U.S. potato growers see fierce foreign competition in key export markets and continued access is vital for maintaining the economic health of the industry, he said. The USDA Market Access Program (MAP) allows the U.S. to be competitive overseas through marketing and promotional activities that build commercial export markets.
Halverson spoke about MAP and its role in this public-private partnership, noting its 28-to-1 return on investment. Export market development programs funded through the farm bill have contributed an average of $8.2 billion per year to farm export revenue from 1977 to 2014. Without the existence of MAP, exports would not have returned to positive growth last year, Halverson said.
Halverson testified on behalf of the National Potato Council and United Fresh Produce Association. As the Senate committee’s work in preparation for the 2018 Farm Bill continues, NPC is actively engaged in providing information and outlining the importance of farm bill programs working in concert with U.S. trade policies.