USDA Awards Funds for Fiscal Year 2022 Market Development Programs

WASHINGTON, D.C., Dec. 3, 2021 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) has awarded fiscal year 2022 funding to more than 60 U.S. agricultural organizations to help expand commercial export markets for U.S. goods.

The Market Access Program (MAP) focuses on consumer promotion, including brand promotion for small companies and cooperatives, and is used extensively by organizations promoting fruits, vegetables, nuts, processed products, and bulk and intermediate commodities. The Foreign Market Development (FMD) Program focuses on trade servicing and trade capacity building by helping to create, expand and maintain long-term export markets for U.S. agricultural products.

“The Market Access and Foreign Market Development programs benefit producers throughout the United States, building markets for a wide variety of U.S. farm and food products around the globe,” said FAS Administrator Daniel Whitley. “These programs play a significant role in supporting the U.S. agricultural industry that achieved record exports in 2021 and is projected to do even better in 2022. Increased exports are critical to expand farm incomes, improve the economic health of rural communities, and ensure nutrition security here at home and overseas.”
Under the Market Access Program, FAS will provide $175.6 million for fiscal year 2022 to 67 nonprofit organizations and cooperatives. These organizations use the funds to support U.S. producers with marketing and promotion activities around the globe, including market research, technical assistance, and support for participation in trade fairs and exhibits. The average MAP participant provides more than $3.50 in contributions for every $1 in federal funding it receives through the program.

Under the Foreign Market Development Program, FAS will allocate $26.8 million for fiscal year 2022 to 21 trade organizations that represent U.S. agricultural producers. The program focuses on generic promotion of U.S. commodities, rather than consumer–oriented promotion of branded products. Preference is given to organizations that represent an entire industry or are nationwide in membership and scope. The organizations, which contribute on average more than $2.50 for every $1 in federal funding they receive through the program, will conduct activities that help maintain or increase demand for U.S. agricultural commodities overseas.

USDA’s international market development programs have had a significant and positive impact on U.S. agricultural exports. An independent study released in 2016 found that MAP and FMD provide $28 in export gains for every $1 spent by government and industry on market development.

Agricultural exports have grown significantly over the past decades, becoming an increasingly important component of the agriculture industry and accounting for 20 percent of U.S. production. From 2000 to 2020, U.S. agricultural exports grew from $56 billion to $150 billion. It is estimated that U.S. agricultural exports supported nearly 1.1 million full-time jobs in 2019.

USDA has published the list of organizations that will receive fiscal year 2022 MAP awards and FMD awards. To learn more about MAP, FMD and other FAS programs, visit

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy, and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit


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Washington DC Update

Reconciliation rolls on!

The House Agriculture Committee has scheduled a mark up to consider a proposal to satisfy the
Agriculture Committee’s reconciliation instructions required by S. Con. Res. 14 on Friday, September 10th at 1:00 pm - view here.  The agriculture portion of the partisan Reconciliation bill is intended to implement President Biden’s Build Back Better $3.5 trillion agenda.  The legislation has been “pre-conferenced” by the House and Senate Agriculture Committees so little change is expected during the markup on Friday. 

The Reconciliation bill proposal is intended to address the following areas:

Statutory language implementing the proposals may be found here.

There is a $35 billion difference in House and Senate Agriculture Committees due to the differences in jurisdiction concerning child nutrition programs which the House Education and Labor Committee will consider Thursday, September 9th

Passage of the $3.5 trillion reconciliation proposal is uncertain.  Currently, moderate House Democrats have been expressing their dissatisfaction with the proposal and Senator Joe Manchin D-WV is rumored to support only $1.5 trillion in spending.   Coupled with the end of the month vote on the bipartisan infrastructure package and Democratic policy disagreements, the path forward for the reconciliation proposal is rocky.

Washington, DC Update

On June 23, 2021, President Joe Biden announced his intent to nominate Homer Wilkes for Under Secretary for Natural Resources and the Environment, Department of Agriculture.

Dr. Homer Wilkes, a native of Port Gibson, Mississippi, currently serves as Director of Gulf of Mexico Ecosystem Restoration Team. He is one of the five Federal Executive Council members to oversee the rebuilding of the Ecosystem of the Gulf of Mexico after the BP Oil Spill of 2010. He served as the Acting Associate Chief of USDA/Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Washington during the period of 2010 to 2012. Dr. Wilkes' tenure with the United States Department of Agriculture spans over 41 years. During his tenure he has served as State Conservationist for Mississippi; Chief Financial Officer for NRCS in Washington, DC; Deputy State Conservationist for Mississippi; and Chief of Administrative Staff for the South Technical Center for NRCS in Fort Worth, Texas.

Dr. Wilkes also served as Naval Supply Officer in the United States Navy Reserves from November 1984 to April 2007. Dr. Wilkes received his Bachelors, Master of Business Administration, and Ph.D. in Urban Higher Education from Jackson State University. He also successfully completed the USDA Senior Executive Service Candidate Development Program (SES CDP) through American University’s Key Executive Leadership Certificate in Public Policy. Dr. Wilkes and his wife Kim, currently reside in Ridgeland, MS. They have three sons, Justin, Austin, and Harrison. He enjoys fishing, restoring antique vehicles, and family activities.

Xochitl Torres Small

On June 18, 2021, President Joe Biden nominated Xochitl Torres Small for Under Secretary of Rural Development, Department of Agriculture. Xochitl Torres Small is the granddaughter of migrant farmworkers and grew up in the borderlands of New Mexico. In 2008, she came home from college to work as a field organizer, working in neighborhoods known as colonias, in southern New Mexico. She served as a field representative for New Mexico’s Senator Tom Udall, where she collaborated with local grassroots leaders, business owners, elected officials, and regional and state economic development officials to help communities access American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds. Torres Small studied water law and has worked closely with rural water utilities. In 2018, Torres Small became the first woman and first person of color to represent New Mexico’s second congressional district, the largest district that isn’t its own state. Torres Small served as the U.S. Representative for New Mexico’s 2nd congressional district in the 116th Congress. Torres Small was defeated in 2020 by Yvette Herrell.

USRPA Social Media Campaign in China Continues with a Great Start

The social media campaign has received positive feedback and attention as the campaign China continues to promote U.S. rice. A translation of the positive marketing message used to educate and reach to Chinese market reads as:

Rice is clocked by the aura of the universe and is full of the essence of heaven and earth.

Rice is the main food of mankind and has fed the people for generations for eight thousand years.

Mountains and trees, grasslands and rivers, nature bred a harmonious and unified soil environment. The United States, a large agricultural country with 1.2 million hectares of rice arable land, cultivates about 10 million tons of rice every year. It has a variety of varieties, including all common long-grain and medium-short-grain varieties on the market. It is of high quality, non-GMO, environmentally friendly, clean, and consistent appearance, and has uniform rice grains. The rice is light in taste, full and chewy kernels, and will not lose quality when reheated. This is a solution to the homesickness of Chinese living overseas? Who is it to have inherited the bright fruits of Chinese civilization?

New Crop Rice Planted, Farmers Looking for Improved Prices

Rice planting in the U.S. is coming to an end as most states are now passing the finish line. In California, rice emerged is about 5% ahead of last year whereas the other states are slightly behind. Only about one-third of the crop is considered to be in poor condition, but with it being so early in the growing season, that statistic doesn’t yet hold much merit at this point in time.

World market prices are showing small signs of softening, according to the USDA which recently reported world market prices (rough rice) to only be down 2% in the last 3 months. Last year at this time, world market prices were at a similar level, however, they had made a 15% run in the 3-months leading up to the middle of May.

We are on the bridge between old crop and new crop. The June 29th actual planting report is much anticipated as it will indicate how many acres shifted over into corn and soybeans. Then the next WASDE report is due out on July 12th and will set the tone and real indications for new crop pricing.

With prices dropping in Brazil those suppliers should become more competitive and closer to the U.S. if not lower. Much depends on the freight market and foreign exchange. Some analysts see 200,000 tons of paddy exports and much more milled rice as well. The government agency CONAB is saying yields in the largest state of Rio Grande do Sul reached 8,500 lbs per acre.

Brazil must export to avoid additional price reduction. Currently business is slow and vessel freights are very high including for containers. We understand the Brazilian grain quality is excellent.

After a several-month bull run in freight markets, which was extra aggressive in April and May, the Dry Bulk Index showed its first sign of letting up. The recent retreat in shipping prices is attributed to China’s claim to police the industry and reduce hoarding and market manipulation. Of course, most analysts expect this small slide in prices to be quickly reversed as the shortage of ships and containers is clearly an ongoing obstacle.

An inflating US Dollar coupled with excessive shipping and logistics costs continues to have a significant impact on grain trade worldwide. If those economic factors weren’t enough, the relentless COVID outbreaks which seem to pop right when another starts to get reeled-in is working only to muddy the “market water” even more. If these components can’t stabilize in the near future, the global commodity markets may be in for a relatively volatile year.

The Futures market is already supporting volatile expectations as rough rice prices eroded further. Declining prices, and rising volume, and open interest normally point to a weak market. In this sense, the futures market actually reflects what is being seen on the ground, where buy interest is weak at best which is only working to demotivate sellers from engaging the market. The reduced output in 2021 may work to reverse the current sentiment, but with the crop having just been planted, that may take a little while.

Texas Cuba Trade Alliance (TCTA) Hosts Virtual Meeting with Cuban Ambassador Lianys Torres

Dwight Roberts, President & CEO of the US Rice Producers Association and Bianka Rodriguez, Marketing & Western Hemisphere Promotions Director, participated in the Texas-Cuba Trade Alliance (TCTA) virtual meeting with Cuban Ambassador Lianys Torres on Monday morning.

The meeting was moderated by Ricardo Arias, Trade Development Manager at the Port of Houston. Lianys Torres, Cuban Ambassador to the United States, and Rodney Gonzalez, Cuban Embassy Official, updated the audience on the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine in Cuba. Torres commented that Havana's population will be fully vaccinated by July and is expecting the whole country to be fully vaccinated by the end of the year. With such promising results, leaders are also expecting the Havana International airport to open by the end of the year.  Torres also commented that Cuba will end its decades-old dual currency system and have a single unified exchange.

Among the topics discussed, an improved US-Cuba relationship was emphasized throughout, especially within the agricultural sector, saying that Texas has all the elements to continue with the agricultural relations.

Dwight Roberts, USRPA President & CEO has been an active board member of the TCTA since its inception and is considered the first organization formed to address agriculture issues with Cuba in the U.S.

USRPA Attends Virtual Andean Regional Conference

This week, Bianka Rodriguez, USRPA Marketing & Western Hemisphere Promotions Director, along with Sarah Moran and Asiha Grigsby of the USA Rice Federation, attended the Virtual Andean Regional Conference with FAS Officers. The conference consisted of a 30-minute session, moderated by Adam Klein, Agricultural Attaché at Colombia and Venezuela. Casey Bean, Ag Counselor, Bret Tate, FAS Trade policy lead for the Andean Region, and Lady Gomez. The session primarily focused on updating Posts’ analysis of the Colombia and Venezuela markets. US Rice Producers Association is proud to have close working relationships with Post throughout the world.

Washington DC Update - USDA Announces New Pandemic Assistance for Producers

This week, March 24th, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that USDA is establishing new programs and efforts to bring financial assistance to farmers, ranchers and producers who felt the impact of COVID-19 market disruptions. The new initiative—USDA Pandemic Assistance for Producers—will reach a broader set of producers than in previous COVID-19 aid programs. USDA is dedicating at least $6 billion toward the new programs. The Department will also develop rules for new programs that will put a greater emphasis on outreach to small and socially disadvantaged producers, specialty crop and organic producers, timber harvesters, as well as provide support for the food supply chain and producers of renewable fuel, among others. Existing programs like the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) will fall within the new initiative and, where statutory authority allows, will be refined to better address the needs of producers.

USDA will reopen sign-up for CFAP 2 for at least 60 days beginning on April 5, 2021. The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) has committed at least $2.5 million to improve outreach for CFAP 2 and will establish partnerships with organizations with strong connections to socially disadvantaged communities to ensure they are informed and aware of the application process.

The payments announced today under Part 3 will go out under the existing CFAP rules; however, future opportunities for USDA Pandemic Assistance will be reviewed for verified need and during the rulemaking process, USDA will look to make eligibility more consistent with the Farm Bill. Moving forward, USDA Pandemic Assistance for Producers will utilize existing programs, such as the Local Agricultural Marketing Program, Farming Opportunities Training and Outreach, and Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, and others to enhance educational and market opportunities for agricultural producers.

PAYGO Sequestration

U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR), Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, warned again this week that the mandatory spending cuts that will result from the Democrats’ $1.9T reconciliation package should give pause to the idea of using the same process to further increase deficit spending to address climate change.  Boozman expressed concern earlier here.  The use of the budget reconciliation process risks triggering billions of dollars in automatic spending reductions under statutory pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) rules. Unless federal law is changed, PAYGO will zero out virtually all farm program spending over the next five years.  Although the House has passed legislation to address potential PAYGO cuts, the bill would need to reach the 60-vote threshold in the Senate. 

Market Update: Rice Competes with Corn & Soybeans for Acres

Export Demand Expected to Improve Later in 2021

After several weeks of the cash market trading sideways, it looks like slower export demand and domestic use has finally caught up.  Rice prices soften in each state, albeit by minimal amounts.  Rice acres are looking to be flat as corn and beans steal the show.  Early guidance suggests growers will consider corn and bean acres as demand is forecast to be strong moving into the 2021 marketing year. 

Export demand for US long grain rice remains suppressed as the market struggles to compete with Asian and even South American origins. The latest USDA export sales report cited total long grain demand to be down over 18% YTD. 

Between sluggish demand in rice and robust demand in corn and beans, it’s no surprise that growers intend to supplant rice ground for these other commodities.  Early projections are that long grain acres in Arkansas will decline by 210,000, Louisiana down 35,000, and Mississippi is forecast down 21,000. Only Texas is expected to match last year’s planted area.  California acres are expected to see a sharp reduction as well, however that is not market driven, it is strictly water related.  There is some potential risk for US farmers attempting to chase corn and bean prices as reports are coming in that suggest China plans to increase acreage by over 1.65 million acres in the upcoming marketing year. 

With the exception of India, most of the major Asian exporters have seen few market developments over the past couple of weeks.  While Vietnam is rumored to be in talks with Iraq regarding a tender, that sale has yet to come to fruition and in the meantime, Viet prices have slipped further to $505-510 per metric ton.   Thailand is experiencing some market volatility as the local market reached 10-month highs on supply scarcity.  Ultimately, this price action has kept many Thai exporters at bay, paving the road for India to capture additional market share.

The nearby contract closed at $12.805 per cwt in Thursday’s trading session which marks a $0.20 per cwt decline over the past 2-weeks. Volume is also down significantly, recorded at only 496 while open interest was relatively steady at 9481. With little change in pricing for the June ’22 and March ’22 contracts the board seems to be signaling that more acres aren’t needed in the market.

Employment Opportunity

Coordinator for Delta Producer Relations

Objective: Coordinator for Delta Producer Relations will represent the interests of U.S. rice farmers while working and interacting regularly with state and local government officials, farmers and allied businesses, particularly in the Mississippi delta region, including but not limited to Missouri and Arkansas.

Member Services/Outreach

Event Planning



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