Expanding access to global markets

June 13, 2023
John Griffith, executive vice president of ag business with CHS, described how market access program funds benefit U.S. farmers during a recent congressional hearing on international trade.

The ability to access global markets is vital for U.S. farmers and agribusinesses. John Griffith, executive vice president of ag business with CHS, recently testified at a congressional hearing on international trade to advocate for more funding for market development programs to boost ag exports, build new markets and strengthen demand for U.S agricultural commodities.

Proven success with market access programs

Through the Market Access Program (MAP), U.S. agricultural trade associations, cooperatives, state and regional trade groups and small businesses receive funding from the U.S. government for marketing and promotional activities that help build commercial export markets for U.S. farmers.

Griffith says many examples show how these programs have increased U.S. ag exports.

“One example is how U.S. farmers gained market access in Vietnam,” he explains. “Over the course of 10 years, MAP funds were deployed to help with education and market development in the country. Those efforts resulted in constant growth in U.S. agricultural products going to Vietnam.”

Another example is market growth in Nigeria, which is now the largest buyer of hard red winter wheat. Griffith says that market opportunity was sparked more than 25 years ago by MAP funding. 

Program funds accelerate progress

In his testimony, Griffith explained how market access programs are critical for developing new markets and customers for U.S. crops.

“It can be difficult for people to understand the long lead times it takes to create new market opportunities. It’s work that the agriculture industry cannot do alone. Sometimes it takes up to 10 years to develop markets or customer relationships. MAP funds and foreign market development programs help the agriculture industry, nonprofit organizations and trade associations to do some of that work. It’s been proven to work very effectively over the long term,” says Griffith.

A message to legislators

As the nation’s largest farmer-owned cooperative, CHS is a strong advocate for farmers in Washington, D.C. Griffith says the cooperative system must speak up and educate legislators on critical issues.

“The marginal export business has a disproportionately positive impact on agricultural prices and our farmers. Continually developing that business helps bring market access, consistency and pricing competitiveness to our nation’s farmers,” Griffith explains. “We encourage legislators to continue to fund and increase the funding for market access programs. It’s easy for these programs to get overlooked when it’s time for funding, so we want to remind lawmakers of their critical importance as the new farm bill is being drafted.”