A proposal announced earlier this week by the European Commission to triple the continent’s spending to promote exports of EU agricultural and agri-food products has U.S. producers requesting that Congress respond in kind.
The commission said the proposal will adopt the slogan “Enjoy, it´s from Europe” to make consumers more aware of the efforts made by European farmers to provide quality products. It proposes to support the promotional program through a significant increase in the aid from 61 million euros ($82.5 million) in the 2013 budget to 200 million euros ($270.5 million) in 2020.
“In a world in which consumers are increasingly aware of the safety, quality and sustainability of food production methods, European farmers and small- or medium-sized enterprises are in a position of strength,” said European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Dacian Ciolos, in a statement.
“This proposal from the European Commission sends a clear message that I hope our Congress is listening to,” said Mark Jagels, chairman of the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). “With 96 percent of the world’s population living outside our borders, we need to focus our energy and resources on putting U.S. meat and other agricultural products on the world’s tables. If we don’t, our competitors in the EU and around the world will gladly take that business off our hands.”
Jagels noted the benefits of supporting U.S. agricultural exports, which reached $141 billion in value in fiscal year 2012.
A recent study conducted for the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that the investment of USDA and checkoff funds in USMEF programs over the prior 10 years returned an average of $7.42 in net revenue to the U.S. pork industry and $3.87 to the beef industry per dollar invested.
“Where better can we invest our tax dollars than in supporting agricultural exports that create jobs, bolster an essential industry, and put tax revenue back into the government’s coffers,” Jagels said. “We need to take a cue from the European Union and support agricultural exports rather than reducing spending on these essential programs.”