Agricultural Export and Food Aid Programs
Agricultural Export and Food Aid Programs
Updated April 15, 2008
Charles E. Hanrahan
Senior Specialist in Agricultural Policy
Resources, Science, and Industry Division
Agricultural Export and Food Aid Programs
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) administers programs to promote
agricultural exports and to provide food aid, all currently authorized in the 2002 farm
bill, the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act (FSRIA, P.L. 107-171), or in
permanent legislation. These programs include direct export subsidies, export market
development, export credit guarantees, and foreign food aid. Legislative authorityth
for most of these activities expires with the 2002 farm bill in 2007, and the 110
Congress has been deliberating a new farm bill. House and Senate conferees are
working to iron out differences between versions of the farm bill. Slowing the
process are differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill and
differences between the agriculture committees and the Administration over funding
USDA’s direct export subsidies include the Export Enhancement Program
(EEP) and the Dairy Export Incentive Program (DEIP). EEP spending has been
negligible since 1996, and DEIP spending has been declining since 2002. Export
subsidies, but not other U.S. export and food aid programs, are subject to reduction
commitments agreed to in multilateral trade negotiations. Export market
development programs include the Market Access Program (MAP) and the Foreign
Market Development or “Cooperator” Program (FMDP). Although criticized by
some as corporate welfare, these programs are considered to be non-trade-distorting
by the World Trade Organization (WTO) and are exempt from multilateral spending
constraints. The FSRIA authorizes MAP spending of $200 million annually in
FY2006 and FY2007 and sets FMDP spending at $34.5 million annually through
FY2007. The FSRIA authorizes export credit guarantees by USDA’s Commodity
Credit Corporation (CCC) of up to $5.5 billion worth of farm exports annually plus
an additional $1 billion for emerging markets through 2007. Actual levels
guaranteed depend on economic conditions and the demand for financing by eligible
The 2002 farm bill also authorizes, through FY2007, foreign food aid programs
including P.L. 480 Food for Peace, Food for Progress, the Emerson Trust (a reserve
of commodities and cash), and a new international school feeding program. Section
416(b), permanently authorized in the Agricultural Act of 1949, also can provide
surplus commodities for donation overseas. Average annual spending on food aid
under the 2002 farm bill has been $2.2 billion. Global food price inflation is putting
pressure on the ability of food aid donors, including the United States, to meet
estimated needs. Increased allocations of U.S. food aid for emergency relief has
reduced the volume of food aid available for development projects.
The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-161) includes funding
for USDA’s international activities for the current fiscal year. P.L. 110-161 provided
for a short-term extension of the 2002 farm bill through March 15, 2008. The 2002
farm bill was further extended until April 18 to provide time for a House-Senate
conference and for further negotiations between the Congress and the Administration,
primarily over funding issues.
U.S. Agricultural Exports...........................................2
USDA’s International Agricultural Programs............................3
Agricultural Export Programs .......................................5
Export Enhancement Program (EEP)..........................5
Dairy Export Incentive Program (DEIP)........................6
Administration Farm Bill Proposals...........................7
Farm Bill Legislative Action.................................7
Market Development Programs...................................7
Market Access Program (MAP)...............................7
Foreign Market Development Program (FMDP)..................8
Emerging Markets Program..................................9
Quality Samples Program...................................9
Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops (TASC) Program.........9
Administration Farm Bill Proposals..........................10
Farm Bill Legislative Action................................10
Export Credit Guarantees.......................................10
Export Credit Guarantee Programs (GSM-102 and GSM-103)......10
Supplier Credit Guarantee Program...........................11
Facilities Guarantee Program................................11
Recent Export Credit Guarantee Activity......................12
Export Credit Guarantees and the WTO Cotton Case.............12
Administration Farm Proposals..............................13
Farm Bill Legislative Action................................13
Other Trade Proposals.........................................14
International Food Aid Programs.....................................14
P.L. 480 (Food for Peace)......................................14
Other Food Aid Programs......................................15
Food for Progress (FFP)....................................15
McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and
Child Nutrition Program...............................16
The Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust (BEHT)..................16
The John Ogonowski Farmer-to-Farmer Program................16
Recent Food Aid Program Activity...............................16
Releases from the Emerson Trust............................17
Food Aid Issues..............................................17
The Administration’s Farm Bill Food Aid Proposal......................19
Farm Bill Legislative Action on Food Aid.............................20
Non-Emergency Development Food Aid ..........................20
Other P.L. 480 Provisions......................................21
Other Food Aid Programs......................................21
Food for Progress.........................................21
McGovern-Dole Food for Education..........................21
The Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust.........................22
Congressional Action on Appropriations...............................22
FY2009 Budget Request.......................................22
List of Tables
USDA International Program Activity, FY1998-FY2007...................4
Agricultural Export and Food Aid Programs
On April 14, 2008, the President directed the Secretary of Agriculture to draw
down the Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust (a reserve of commodities and cash to
meet unanticipated food aid needs) to address the impact of rising commodity prices
on U.S. emergency food aid programs and to meet unanticipated food aid needs in
Africa and elsewhere.
On April l0, 2008, a farm bill conference committee began deliberations to
reconcile House and Senate version of a farm bill to replace the expiring 2002 farm
On March 20, 2008, the U.N. World Food Program (WFP) made an urgent
appeal to the United States and other food aid donors for an additional $500 million1
to address a funding gap for food aid caused by rising food and fuel prices. The
WFP is the United Nations agency charged with meeting hunger needs of vulnerable
people throughout the world.
The U.S. Agency for International Development also indicated that rising food
and fuel prices would result in a significant scaling back of emergency international
food aid in FY2008. According to press reports on March 1, 2008, USAID expects
that in FY2008 it would need as much as $200 million in additional funding to meet
emergency food aid needs.
On February 4, 2008, the President submitted his FY2009 budget request to
Congress. Included in the agriculture budget request is $1.2 billion in appropriated
funds for P.L. 480 Title II humanitarian commodity donations. The budget proposal
includes a request for legislative authority to allocate up to 25% of the funds
available for Title II to local or regional purchases to meet emergency food aid needs.
The President’s budget indicates that a $350 million supplemental appropriation for
the Title II program has been requested.
The House Agriculture Committee conducted its markup of its version of the
farm bill (H.R. 2419) in mid-July, and House floor action was completed on July 27,
2007. The Senate Agriculture Committee approved its version of the farm bill on
October 25, 2007. The full Senate passed its amended version of H.R. 2419 on
December 14, 2007. Among other provisions, both bills reauthorize and extend
export and food aid programs through 2012.
1 Letter to President Bush from WFP Executive Director, Josette Sheeran, March 20, 2008,
On May 25, 2007, the President signed the Iraq war emergency supplemental
appropriations act (H.R. 2206, P.L. 110-28), which included an additional $450
million for P.L. 480 Title II food aid donations for FY2007. These funds would be
available until expended.
The President signed on December 16, 2007, H.R. 2764 (P.L. 110-161), the
Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2008, which includes FY2008 funding for
USDA’s international activities. The act provides about $1.5 billion of discretionary
funding for USDA’s international activities (mainly international food aid). The
President’s budget request indicates that another $3.1 billion would be allocated to
mandatory international programs (export promotion, export credit guarantees, export
subsidies). Section 751 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act extends authority for
U.S. Agricultural Exports
Agricultural exports are important both to farmers and to the U.S. economy.
Production from almost a third of harvested acreage is exported, including an
estimated 48% of food grain production, almost 20% of feed grains, and about 36%
of U.S. oilseeds. Cotton exports amounted to 70% of production in 2006. Exports
also generate economic activity in the non-farm economy. According to USDA, each
$1 received from agricultural exports stimulated another $1.48 in supporting
activities to produce those exports. Recent data show that agricultural exports
generate an estimated 825,000 full-time civilian jobs, including 437,000 jobs in the2
Nearly every state exports agricultural commodities. USDA data shows that the
states with the greatest shares of U.S. agricultural exports by value are California,
Iowa, Texas, Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska, Kansas, Washington, North Dakota, and
Indiana. These 10 states accounted for 58% of total U.S. agricultural exports in
FY2005. In addition, Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio,
Pennsylvania and Wisconsin each shipped over $1 billion worth of commodities.3
USDA’s forecast is for U.S. agricultural exports to reach $101 billion in
FY2008, a new record high. With agricultural imports forecast to reach $76.5 billion,
the FY2008 agricultural trade surplus would be $24.5 billion, the fourth-highest level4
since 1935. U.S. agricultural exports for FY2008 were estimated by USDA to be
2 Data and analysis on the role of agricultural exports in the U.S. economy is available from
USDA’s Economic Research Service at [http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/reports/erssor/
3 Agricultural export data by state is available from USDA’s Economic Research Service
4 Estimates of U.S. agricultural exports, imports and trade balance are reported in USDA,
Economic Research Service, Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade, published quarterly, at
a record high $81.9 billion, with imports reaching $70 billion, also a record. As a
result, the U.S. agricultural trade balance in FY2007 was an estimated $11.9 billion.
In recent years, high value exports (intermediate products such as wheat flour,
feedstuffs, and vegetable oils and consumer-ready products such as fruits, nuts,
meats, and processed foods) have outpaced such bulk commodity exports as grains,
oilseeds, and cotton. In FY2007, high value agricultural exports accounted for 60%
of the value of total agricultural exports.5 High-value product continue to rise, but,
according to USDA, bulk commodity exports account for three-quarters of the year-
to-year increase in agricultural export value, with about one-quarter of that increase
from volume gains.6 USDA attributes the FY2008 level of farm exports to continued
strong demand, tight global markets, higher prices for grains and oilseeds, and a weak
dollar. In addition to these current factors, other, broader variables also influence the
level of U.S. agricultural exports: income and population growth, and tastes and
preferences in foreign markets; and exchange rates. U.S. domestic farm policies that
affect price and supply, and trade agreements with other countries, also influence the
level of U.S. agricultural exports. While many of these factors are beyond the scope
of congressional action, farm bills have typically included programs that promote
commercial agricultural exports or provide foreign food aid.
USDA’s International Agricultural Programs
The trade title of the 2002 farm bill, the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act
(FSRIA; Title III of P.L. 107-171), authorizes and amends four kinds of export and
food aid programs:
!direct export subsidies;
!export market development programs;
!export credit guarantees; and
!foreign food aid.
USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) administers these export and food
aid programs, with the exception of P.L. 480 Titles II (humanitarian food aid) and III
(food for development), which are administered by the U.S. Agency for International
Some of USDA’s international activities (P.L. 480 food aid, the Food for
Education program, and the operations of the Foreign Agricultural Service) are
funded by annual appropriations. Other programs (export subsidies, export market
development programs, export credit guarantees, and some foreign food aid
programs) are funded through the borrowing authority of the Commodity Credit
Corporation (CCC). The CCC is a U.S. Government-owned and operated
corporation, created in 1933, with broad powers to support farm income and prices
and to assist in the export of U.S. agricultural products. Toward this end, the CCC
5 Percentage of high value agricultural exports estimated from data provided in USDA’s
Foreign Agricultural Service data base available at [http://www.fas.usda.gov/scriptsw/
6 Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade, November 30, 2007, p. 1.
finances USDA’s domestic price and income support programs and its export
programs using its permanent authority to borrow up to $30 billion at any one time
from the U.S. Treasury. (The table below shows international program spending for
FY1998 through FY2007.)
USDA International Program Activity, FY1998-FY2007
Program 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007
EEP a 2127 000000
DEIP b 110 145 78 8 55 32 3 0 0 0
MAP c 90 90 90 90 100 110 125 140 200 200
FMDPd — 282828343434343434
GSM e 4,037 3,045 3,082 3,227 3,388 3,223 3,716 2,625 1,363 1,445
FFEg — — — — — 10050909799
Sectio nh 0 1 ,297 1,130 1,103 773 213 173 76 20 0
FFP i 111 101 108 104 126 137 138 122 131 147
FAS j 209 178 183 201 198 195 197 206 246 268
T o tal 5 ,697 6,693 6,000 5,854 5,944 6,004 6,245 5,408 3,941 3,987
Sources: USDA, Annual Budget Summaries, various issues. These data are program levels (i.e., the
value of goods and services provided in a fiscal year). They include for the discretionary programs
(P.L. 480, Food for Education, and the Foreign Agricultural Service), in addition to regular, annually
appropriated funds, emergency supplemental appropriations, carry-over from one fiscal year to
another, transfers from other USDA agencies, transfers between programs, and reimbursements from
other agencies. Programs not in the table include the Emerging Markets Program, Technical
Assistance for Specialty Crops, the Quality Samples Program, and Trade Adjustment Assistance for
a. Export Enhancement Program.
b. Dairy Export Incentive Program.
c. Market Access Program.
d. Foreign Market Development Program. FY1995-FY1998 FMDP spending included in FAS
e. GSM (General Sales Manager) Export Credit Guarantee Programs.
f. The FY2003 estimate for P.L. 480 includes $1.326 billion for regular FY2003 appropriations; $248
million for Title II emergency assistance (after applying the across-the-board recision of 0.65%);
and $369 million in the Emergency Wartime Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2003; FY2005
P.L. 480 includes $377 million from the Emerson Trust. FY2007 Title II program level includes
a supplemental appropriation of $450 million.
g. The McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program (FFE)was
authorized in the 2002 farm bill FY2003 funds were from the Commodity Credit Corporation;
funds were first appropriated in P.L. 108-199, the FY2004 appropriations bill.
h. Commodity value and ocean freight and transportation.
i. Includes only CCC purchases of commodities for FFP. P.L. 480 Title I funds allocated to FFP are
included in P.L. 480.
j. Foreign Agricultural Service.
Agricultural Export Programs7
The 2002 farm bill authorizes direct export subsidies of agricultural products
through the Export Enhancement Program (EEP) and the Dairy Export Incentive
Export Enhancement Program (EEP).8 EEP was established in 1985, first
by the Secretary of Agriculture under authority granted in the Commodity Credit
Corporation Charter Act, and then under the Food Security Act of 1985 (P.L.
99-198). The program was instituted after several years of declining U.S. agricultural
exports and a growing grain stockpile. Several factors contributed to the fall in
exports during the early 1980s: an overvalued dollar and high commodity loan rates
under the 1981 farm bill made U.S. exports relatively expensive for foreign buyers;
global recession reduced demand for U.S. agricultural products; and foreign
subsidies, especially those of the European Union (EU), helped competing products
make inroads into traditional U.S. markets. EEP’s main stated rationale, at its
inception, was to combat “unfair” trading practices of competitors in world
The Office of the General Sales Manager in USDA’s Foreign Agricultural
Service (FAS) operates EEP. The Sales Manager announces target countries and
amounts of commodities to be sold to those countries, and then invites U.S. exporters
to “bid” for bonuses that effectively lower the sales price. An exporter negotiates a
sale with a foreign importer, calculates the bonus necessary to meet the negotiated
price, and submits the bonus and price to FAS. FAS awards bonuses based on bids
and amount of funding available. Initially awarded in the form of certificates for
commodities owned by the CCC, bonuses since 1992 have been in the form of cash.
Most EEP bonuses have been used to assist sales of wheat. In FY1995, the last
year with significant program activity, 72% of EEP sales were wheat, 8% flour, 6%
poultry, and the remaining sales were eggs, feed grains, pork, barley malt, and rice.
Although many exporters have received bonuses, since 1985 three exporting firms
have received almost half of the total of all EEP bonuses which now exceed $7
billion. The former Soviet Union, Egypt, Algeria, and China were major beneficiaries
of EEP subsidies.
The United States agreed to reduce its agricultural export subsidies under the
1994 Uruguay Round Agreement on Agriculture. The Agreement requires that
outlays for export subsidies fall by 36% and the quantities subsidized by 21% over
six years (1995-2001). Legislation to implement the Uruguay Round Agreement
(P.L. 103-465) reauthorized EEP through the year 2001 and specified that EEP need
not be limited to responses to unfair trade practices as in the 1985 Food Security Act,
7 For discussion of USDA’s export programs in relation to the next farm bill, see CRS
Report RL34227, Agricultural Exports and the 2007 Farm Bill.
8 Additional information on the Export Enhancement Program is available at [http://www.
but also could be used to develop export markets. EEP was reauthorized most
recently in the 2002 FSRIA. Authority to spend CCC funds on EEP expires in
EEP has been controversial since its initiation in 1985. Many oppose the
program outright on grounds of economic efficiency. EEP, they argue, like all export
subsidies, interferes with the operations of markets and distorts trade. Others, noting
that the Uruguay Round Agreement on Agriculture restricts but does not prohibit
agricultural export subsidies, point out that as long as competitors, such as the
European Union, use export subsidies, the United States should also be prepared to
use them. The effectiveness of EEP also has been an issue. Several studies of the
use of EEP found that wheat exports would have decline somewhat if EEP were
eliminated, suggesting that the EEP program increased wheat exports. Other
analysts, however, found that subsidizing wheat exports under EEP resulted in
displacing exports of unsubsidized grains.9
Recent EEP Activity. Although almost always under some pressure from
interested commodity groups to use EEP more extensively, USDA has limited its
scope and funding since 1995. USDA’s rationale for not using EEP is based on the
argument that using it might depress world market prices for eligible commodities.
Some analysts say that not using EEP also strengthens the U.S. hand in on-going
WTO agriculture negotiations where a major U.S. aim is the elimination of
agricultural export subsidies.
In FY1995, the last year of significant program activity, EEP bonuses were
valued at $339 million. From FY1996 to FY2006, a total of only $17 million of EEP
bonuses were awarded. There were no EEP bonus awards from FY2002 through
Dairy Export Incentive Program (DEIP).10 DEIP, most recently
reauthorized in the commodity program title, not the trade title, of the 2002 farm bill,
was established under the 1985 farm act to assist exports of U.S. dairy products. Its
purpose was to counter the adverse effects of foreign subsidies, primarily those of the
European Union. Early bonus payments were in the form of sales from CCC-owned
dairy stocks; later they were generic commodity certificates from CCC inventories;
now they are cash payments. As with EEP, USDA announces target countries and
amounts of dairy products that may be sold to those countries under the program.
Exporters negotiate tentative sales and “bid” for bonuses to subsidize the prices of
the sales. The Uruguay Round subsidy reduction commitments (see EEP above)
apply also to DEIP. Legislative authority for DEIP expires on December 31, 2007.
9 See, for example, the article by Paarlberg and Seitzinger, “A simulation model of the U.S.
export enhancement program for wheat in the presence of an EC response,” at
[http://erae.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/16/4/445]. A Government Accountability
Office (GAO) report found that EEP increased exports and helped bring competitors,
notably the European Union, to the bargaining table in Uruguay Round multilateral trade
negotiations. The GAO report is available at [http://archive.gao.gov/d23t8/141716.pdf].
10 Additional information on DEIP is available at [http://www.fas.usda.gov/excredits/
While many oppose subsidizing dairy products for reasons similar to those held
by EEP opponents, the program has strong support in Congress. Dairy producers
consider DEIP an integral part of U.S. dairy policy, an important adjunct to domestic
Recent DEIP Activity. No DEIP bonuses were awarded from FY2005
through FY2007. The program level for DEIP in FY2003 was $32 million and in
FY2004 it was $3 million.
Administration Farm Bill Proposals. The Administration calls for the
repeal of the Export Enhancement Program (EEP). USDA’s justification for this
move is that EEP is no longer a useful tool for U.S. agricultural exports, it has been
inactive since 1995, and its elimination would not materially affect U.S. exports.
EEP, the Secretary says, is inconsistent with the U.S. goal of eliminating export
subsidies worldwide in Doha Round negotiations.
Farm Bill Legislative Action. The House-passed bill extends authority for
EEP through FY2012, while the Senate version calls for the repeal of EEP. Both the
Senate and House farm bills also extend the authorization for DEIP in Title I, the
commodity title, through FY2012.
Market Development Programs
FAS administers five programs to promote U.S. agricultural products in
overseas markets, including the Market Access Program (MAP), the Foreign Market
Development Program (FMDP), the Emerging Markets Program (EMP), the Quality
Samples Program (QSP), and the Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops Program
(TASC). All of these programs are funded through the borrowing authority of the
CCC. Farm bill authorization of CCC funds for the market development programs
expires at the end of FY2007. Legislation (H.R. 1600, the Eat Healthy America Act)
introduced during the 110th Congress included provisions to substantially increase
funding for MAP and TASC.
Market Access Program (MAP).11 MAP assists primarily value-added
products. The types of activities that are undertaken through MAP are advertising
and other consumer promotions, market research, technical assistance, and trade
servicing. Nonprofit industry organizations and private firms that are not represented
by an industry group submit proposals for marketing activities to the USDA. The
nonprofit organizations may undertake the activities themselves or award funds to
member companies that perform the activities. After the project is completed, FAS
reimburses the industry organization or private company for part of the project cost.
About 60% of MAP funds typically support generic promotion (i.e., non-brand name
commodities or products), and about 40% support brand-name promotion (i.e., a
specific company product).
11 Additional information on MAP is available at [http://www.fas.usda.gov/mos/programs/
The FSRIA authorizes MAP through FY2007. The funding level for the
program (previously capped at $90 million annually) gradually increases to $200
million for FY2006 and FY2007. No foreign for-profit company may receive MAP
funds for the promotion of a foreign-made product. No firm that is not classified as
a small business by the Small Business Administration may receive direct MAP
assistance for branded promotions. Starting in FY1998, USDA policy has been to
allocate all MAP funds for promotion of branded products to cooperatives and small
Recent MAP Activity. Although MAP is not funded by annual
appropriations, appropriations acts have on occasion capped the amounts that could
be spent on the program or imposed other restraints on programming. For example,
the FY1999 agriculture appropriations act imposed no limits on MAP funding, but
did prohibit MAP spending in support of promotion of exports of mink pelts or
garments, a provision that was first adopted in the FY1996 agriculture appropriations
law. Since 1993, no MAP funds may be used to promote tobacco exports. MAP has
often been targeted for cuts by some Members of Congress who maintain that it is a
form of corporate welfare, or to help offset increased expenditures on other
programs, but such efforts have been unsuccessful. USDA allocated the maximum
amounts authorized for MAP in the 2002 farm bill for FY2002 through FY2006.
Foreign Market Development Program (FMDP).12 The FSRIA also
reauthorizes CCC funding for this program through FY2007 at an annual level of
$34.5 million. The program, which began in 1955, is like MAP in most major
respects. Its purpose is to expand export opportunities over the long term by
undertaking activities such as consumer promotions, technical assistance, trade
servicing, and market research. As with MAP, projects under FMDP are jointly
funded by the government and industry groups, and the government reimburses the
industry organization for its part of the cost after the project is finished. Like MAP,
FMDP is exempt from Uruguay Round Agreement reduction commitments. Unlike
MAP, which mainly promotes consumer goods and brand-name products, FMDP
mainly promotes generic or bulk commodities.
MAP and FMDP Issues. Some of the same issues raised with respect to
MAP are also raised about FMDP and in some cases all the export programs. The
basic issue is whether the federal government should have an active role in helping
agricultural producers and agribusinesses market their products overseas. Some
argue that MAP and FMDP are forms of corporate welfare in that they fund activities
that private firms would and could fund for themselves. Others argue that the
principal beneficiaries are foreign consumers and that funds could be better spent, for
example, to educate U.S. firms on how to export. Program supporters emphasize that
foreign competitors, especially EU member countries, also spend money on market
promotion, and that U.S. marketing programs help keep U.S. products competitive
in third-country markets.
12 Additional information on FMDP is available at [http://www.fas.usda.gov/mos/programs/
Recent FMDP Activity. Prior to FY2000, FMDP was funded as part of the
appropriation of the Foreign Agricultural Service. The 1996 farm bill provided new
statutory authority for the Program and authorized it through 2002. In FY2000,
USDA moved funding for FMDP from discretionary to CCC funding, thus shifting
its funding into the mandatory category. Funds allocated for FMDP in FY2001 were
$28 million. USDA allocated the farm-bill authorized amount of $34.5 million for
the program in FY2002 through FY2006.
Emerging Markets Program.13 The Emerging Markets Program (EMP)
provides funding for technical assistance activities intended to promote exports of
U.S. agricultural commodities and products to emerging markets in all geographic
regions, consistent with U.S. foreign policy. An emerging markets is defined in the
authorizing legislation (FSRIA of 2002) as any country that is taking steps toward a
market-oriented economy through food, agricultural, or rural business sectors of the
economy of the country. Additionally, an emerging market country must have the
potential to provide a viable and significant market for U.S. agricultural commodities
or products. Eligible countries must have per capita incomes of less than $10,065 in
2005-2006 and a population greater than 1 million. The FSRIA of 2002 authorizes
funding at $10 million each fiscal year through FY2007.
Funding for the EMP is set at $10 million each fiscal year through FY2007 in
the 2002 farm bill. In FY2006, EMP allocated $10 million for 76 agricultural trade
promotion projects to support generic promotions and distribution of U.S.
agricultural products, trade missions, and research on new markets.
Quality Samples Program.14 The Quality Samples Program (QSP) assists
U.S. agricultural trade organizations to provide small samples of their agricultural
products to potential importers in emerging markets overseas. The QSP focuses on
industrial and manufacturing users of products, not end-use consumers. Under the
authority of the CCC Charter Act of 1948, FAS uses up to $2 million of CCC funds
to carry out the program. In FY2006, FAS allocated $1.8 million to 17 trade
organizations participating in QSP.
Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops (TASC) Program.15 The
Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops (TASC) Program aims to assist U.S.
organizations by providing funds for projects that address sanitary, phytosanitary and
technical barriers that prohibit or threaten U.S. speciality crop exporters. The
legislation defines specialty crop as all cultivated plants, and the products thereof,
produced in the United States, except wheat, feed grains, oilseeds, cotton, rice,
peanuts, sugar, and tobacco. The types of activities covered include seminars and
workshops, study tours, field surveys, pest and disease research, and pre-clearance
13 Additional information on the Emerging Markets Program is available at [http://www.fas.
14 Additional information on the QSP is available at [http://www.fas.usda.gov/mos/
15 Additional information on the TASC program is available at [http://www.fas.usda.gov/
programs. The FSRIA of 2002 authorizes $2 million of CCC funds each fiscal year
through FY2007 for the TASC program. In FY2006, FAS allocated $2.6 million to
TASC projects carried out by 26 U.S. trade organizations.
Administration Farm Bill Proposals. The Secretary proposes increased
funding for the Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops (TASC) Program from its
current level of $2 million annually in mandatory funding. Under the proposal,
TASC would increase to $4 million in FY2008, $6 million in FY2009, $8 million in
FY2010, and $10 million thereafter through FY2015. For the Market Access
Program (MAP), funding would rise from the current mandatory funding of $200
million annually to $250 million annually. The additional funding would address
perceived inequities between farm bill program crops (grains, oilseeds, and cotton)
and non-program crops (especially specialty crops). Organic agriculture would be
allowed to compete for MAP funding to help develop the export of organic products.
Farm Bill Legislative Action. Both the Senate bill and H.R. 2419
reauthorize USDA’s agricultural export promotion programs through FY2012. The
Senate bill increases MAP funding by $100 million over the five fiscal years
FY2008-FY2012, while the House bill increases MAP funding by $125 million. Both
bills specifically authorize MAP to promote exports of organically produced
commodities. The House bill authorizes CCC funding for FMDP through FY2012
with no change in the funding levels authorized in the 2002 farm bill (i.e., $34.5
million annually). The Senate bill reauthorizes FMDP through FY2012 but increases
its funding by $22 million over five fiscal years. H.R. 2419 also increases funding for
TASC, which the 2002 farm bill authorizes at $2 million of CCC funds per fiscal
year. Total funding for TASC in H.R. 2419 over five years would amount to $38
million. The Senate bill provides a total of $29.2 million for TASC over five years.
Export Credit Guarantees
The FSRIA reauthorizes through FY2007 USDA-operated export credit
guarantee programs, first established in the Agricultural Trade Act of 1978 (P.L. 95-
501), to facilitate sales of U.S. agricultural exports. Under these programs, private
U.S. financial institutions extend financing at interest rates which are at prevailing
market levels to countries that want to purchase U.S. agricultural exports and are
guaranteed that the loans will be repaid. In making available a guarantee for such
loans, the U.S. government, or more specifically, the CCC, assumes the risk of
default on payments by the foreign purchasers on loans for U.S. farm exports.
Export Credit Guarantee Programs (GSM-102 and GSM-103).16
GSM-102 guarantees repayment of short-term financing (six months to three years)
extended to eligible countries that purchase U.S. farm products. GSM-103
guarantees repayment of intermediate-term financing (up to 10 years) to eligible
countries that purchase U.S. farm products. Eligible countries are those that USDA
determines can service the debt backed by guarantees. Use of guarantees for foreign
aid, foreign policy, or debt rescheduling purposes is prohibited.
16 Additional information on CCC export credit guarantees is at [http://www.fas.usda.gov/
The 2002 farm bill authorizes export credit guarantees of $5.5 billion worth of
agricultural exports annually through FY2007, while giving FAS the flexibility to
determine the allocation between short and intermediate term programs. The actual
level of guarantees depends on market conditions and the demand for financing by
eligible countries. A provision in the statute allows guarantees to be used when the
bank issuing the underlying letter of credit is located in a country other than the
importing country. The farm bill continues the provision that minimum amounts of
credit guarantees would be made available for processed and high value products
through 2007. The farm bill permits credit guarantees for high value products with
at least 90% U.S. content by weight, allowing for some components of foreign origin.
The legislation provides for an additional $1 billion through 2007 in export credit
guarantees targeted to “emerging markets,” countries that are in the process of
becoming commercial markets for U.S. agricultural products.
The General Sales Manager in FAS administers GSM-102 and -103. U.S.
financial institutions providing loans to countries for the purchase of U.S. agricultural
commodities can obtain, for a fee, guarantees from the CCC. If a foreign borrower
defaults on the loan, the U.S. financial institution files a claim with the CCC for
reimbursement, and the CCC assumes the debt. If a country subsequently falls in
arrears to the CCC, its debts may ultimately be subject to rescheduling.
The biggest recipients of export credit guarantees have been Mexico, South
Korea, Iraq, Algeria, and the former Soviet Union (FSU). Iraq is in default of more
than $2 billion of previously extended guarantees. In FY2006, the major recipients
were Turkey ($249 million), South Korea ($200 million) and Russia ($200 million).
Guarantees facilitate sales of a broad range of commodities, but in FY2006 mainly
benefitted exports of wheat, meat and poultry, oilseeds, feed grains, and cotton.
The CCC can guarantee credits under GSM-102 for two other programs:
Supplier Credit Guarantee Program (SCGP) and the Facilities Guarantee Program
Supplier Credit Guarantee Program. Under SCGP, the CCC will
guarantee payment by foreign buyers of U.S. commodities and products which are
sold by U.S. suppliers on a deferred payment basis. Under this variation of
short-term credit guarantee, the foreign buyer alone will bear ultimate responsibility
for repayment of the credit. The duration of the credit is short, generally up to 180
days, although the FSRIA permits guarantees of up to 360 days. These credits are
expected to be particularly useful in facilitating sales of high value products, the
fastest growing components of U.S. agricultural exports.
Facilities Guarantee Program.17 The FGP is also carried out under the
GSM-102 program. In this activity, the CCC will provide guarantees to facilitate the
financing of goods and services exported from the United States to improve or
establish agriculture-related facilities in emerging markets. Eligible projects must
17 Additional information on the FGP is available at [http://www.fas.usda.gov/excredits/
improve the handling, marketing, storage, or distribution of imported U.S.
agricultural commodities and products.
Recent Export Credit Guarantee Activity. In FY2003 export credit
guarantees financed an estimated $3.2 billion of U.S. agricultural exports. FY2004
guarantees financed $3.7 billion of U.S. farm exports and $2.6 billion worth of
exports in FY2005. Guarantees of $1.4 billion of farm exports were made available
in FY2006. The amounts of credit guaranteed each year depend on the demand for
guaranteed financing of U.S. agricultural commodities by eligible borrowing
countries. Substantially lower guarantees in FY2006 may have resulted from the
suspension in FY2006 of the Supplier Credit Guarantee Program because of a high
rate of defaulted obligations and other problems. USDA has proposed terminating
the SCGP in its 2007 farm bill proposal. In addition, applying a more rigorous risk
analysis (as a result of the U.S. response to the WTO cotton case) to prospective
beneficiaries could have contributed to the decline in guarantees.
The farm bill made no specific authorization of funds for the FGP and no funds
have been allocated by USDA to this program under the current farm bill. In its 2007
farm bill proposals, USDA suggests changes (see below) that would make the
program an effective vehicle for improving the infrastructure for handling U.S. farm
exports in emerging markets.
Export Credit Guarantees and the WTO Cotton Case. On March 3,
2005, a World Trade Organization (WTO) Dispute Appeals Panel ruled against the
United States in a dispute brought by Brazil against certain aspects of the U.S. cotton
program.18 The WTO panel found that the GSM-102, GSM-103, and SCGP export
credit guarantee programs effectively functioned as export subsidies because the
financial benefits returned to the government by these programs failed to cover their
long-run operating cost. Furthermore, the panel found that this applies not just to
cotton, but to all commodities that benefit from U.S. commodity support programs.
The panel also found that certain payments (called Step 2 payments), authorized
as part of special cotton marketing provisions in U.S. farm program legislation to
keep U.S. upland cotton competitive on the world market, were prohibited
subsidies.19 Step 2 payments are made to exporters and domestic mill users to
compensate them for their purchase of U.S. upland cotton, which tends to be priced
higher than the world market price. Payments to exporters were found to be
“contingent upon export performance” and therefore qualified as prohibited export
subsidies in violation of WTO commitments. Payments to domestic users were
found to be “contingent on the use of domestic over imported goods” and therefore
qualified as prohibited import substitution subsidies.
18 For a detailed discussion of the U.S. response to the WTO cotton panel’s decision, see
CRS Report RS22187, U.S. Agricultural Policy Response to WTO Cotton Decision; and for
a detailed discussion of the U.S.-Brazil WTO dispute settlement case, see CRS Report
RL32571, Background on the U.S.-Brazil WTO Cotton Subsidy Dispute, both by Randy
19 For more information on Step 2 payments, see CRS Report RL32442, Cotton Production
and Support in the United States, by Jasper Womach.
On July 5, 2005, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Johanns announced a number of
changes intended to bring the United States into compliance with the WTO cotton
ruling, including a request to Congress to remove the 1% cap on fees charged under
the GSM-102 export credit guarantee program, termination of the GSM-103 export
credit guarantee program, and elimination of the Step 2 program. The announced
termination of GSM-103 export credit guarantees programs can be made
administratively, but changes in the cap on fees and the Step 2 program require
legislation. Congress included a provision in the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (P.L.
109-171), signed into law on February 8, 2006, that provided for the elimination of
Step 2 by August 1, 2006. However, Congress did not change the cap on fees. (The
House- and Senate-passed farm bills, discussed below, do make these changes in
CCC Export Credit Guarantee Programs.)
On October 15, 2007, a World Trade Organization (WTO) compliance panel
released its final report to the U.S. and Brazilian governments concerning U.S.
compliance with a negative ruling in a dispute settlement case (DS267) brought by
Brazil against certain aspects of the U.S. cotton program. Reportedly, the panel’s
ruling confirmed an earlier (July 27, 2007) interim ruling that the United States has
not fully complied with a March 2005 WTO ruling against certain U.S. cotton
support programs. The United States is expected to appeal the compliance panel’s
ruling. The ruling against the United States (barring a successful U.S. appeal) could
necessitate further U.S. farm program changes or, if no further changes are
forthcoming, clear the way for Brazil to request WTO authorization for retaliatory
Administration Farm Proposals. Three major changes are proposed for
the export credit guarantee programs. First, the proposals call for reforming the
credit programs to make them consistent with U.S. WTO commitments. To bring the
credit guaranty programs into conformity with trade rules, the Administration asks
Congress to remove the 1% cap on fees that can be collected under the Short-Term
Credit Guarantee Program (GSM-102) and eliminate specific legislative authority for
the Intermediate Export Credit Guarantee Program (GSM-103). Second, the
Administration proposes termination of the Supplier Credit Guarantee Program,
largely because the SCGP has incurred a number of defaults and there have been
instances of fraud. USDA had already suspended FY2006 program announcements
for SCGP. Third, the Administration proposes to expand the Facilities Financing
Guarantee Program (FGP) by allowing lower or no down payments, 98% principal
and interest coverage, and longer terms for up to the life cycle of a facility’s
depreciation schedule (not to exceed 20 years). These recommendations are made,
USDA notes, because the current requirements to qualify for FGP have discouraged
Farm Bill Legislative Action. Title III in both the House-passed farm bill
(H.R. 2419) and the Senate farm bill make the changes in USDA’s export credit
guarantee programs recommended by the Administration: repeal of GSM-103 and the
SGCP and removal of the 1% cap on origination fees for GSM guarantees. The
GSM-102 program is extended through FY2012.
Other Trade Proposals
Other Administration 2007 farm bill proposals would strengthen U.S. capacity
to address international SPS and technical trade barriers; strengthen staff support for
U.S. participation in international standard-setting bodies, such as the Codex
Alimentarius, the International Plant Protection Convention, and the World Animal
Health Organization; and provide technical assistance to limited-resource agricultural
producers to respond to trade disputes and challenges.
International Food Aid Programs20
The 2002 farm bill authorizes a number of international food aid programs that
supply U.S. commodities abroad. These include Titles I, II, and III of P.L. 480, also
known as Food for Peace; the Food for Progress Program; the McGovern-Dole
International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program; and the Bill Emerson
Trust, a reserve of commodities and cash to be used in the case of unanticipated
emergencies. All of these programs are authorized through FY2007. One other food
aid program, Section 416(b) surplus commodity donations, is permanently authorized
in the Agricultural Act of 1949. The McGovern-Dole program is a new food aid
program established by the 2002 farm bill. It replaces a pilot activity, the Global
Food for Education Initiative, established in 2000 by the Clinton Administration.
The John Ogonowski Farmer-to-Farmer Program, a small program of volunteer
technical assistance to agriculture in developing countries, is funded from the P.L.
P.L. 480 (Food for Peace)21
P.L. 480, the Agricultural Trade Development and Assistance Act of 1954, has
three food aid titles. Title I, Trade and Development Assistance, provides for long-
term, low interest loans to developing and transition countries and private entities for
their purchase of U.S. agricultural commodities. Title II, Emergency and Private
Assistance Programs, provides for the donation of U.S. agricultural commodities to
meet emergency and non-emergency food needs. Title III, Food for Development,
provides government-to-government grants to support long-term growth in the least
developed countries. Title I of P.L. 480 is administered by USDA; Titles II and III
are administered by the Agency for International Development (AID).
A five-year grace period may be granted before a recipient must begin repaying
the principal on the credit extended under a Title I agreement. The Secretary could
still allow up to 30 years for repayment, but could require repayment in fewer than
20 For discussion of international food aid programs in relation to the next farm bill, see
CRS Report RL34145, International Food Aid and the 2007 Farm Bill.
21 Additional information on P.L. 480 food aid is available at [http://www.fas.usda.gov/
I agreements is accorded to developing countries with demonstrated potential to
become commercial markets for U.S. agricultural commodities.
The P.L. 480 legislation identifies private voluntary organizations (PVOs),
cooperatives, and intergovernmental organizations (such as the U.N. World Food
Program) as organizations eligible to carry out Title II non-emergency (development)
programs, including in countries where USAID does not maintain a mission. FSRIA
authorized funding to pay project or administrative and other costs of eligible
organizations at 5% to 10% of annual Title II funding. A minimum of 15% of non-
emergency Title II commodities can be monetized (i.e., sold for local currencies or
for dollars). Monetization enables PVOs and coops to defray the costs of distributing
food or implementing development projects in countries where they operate.
Currencies from Title II commodity sales (monetization) can be used in a country
different from the one in which the commodities were sold, if the country is in the
same geographic region.
The FSRIA mandates an annual minimum tonnage level provided as Title II
commodity donations of 2.5 million metric tons, of which 1.875 mmt (75%) is to be
channeled through the eligible organizations. This mandate, which has rarely been
met, can be waived by the USAID Administrator upon a determination that this
volume of commodities cannot be used effectively or in cases of emergency need.
In recent years, the volume of P.L. 480 emergency food aid has far exceeded the
amount of non-emergency or development food aid.
Other Food Aid Programs
Section 416(b).22 This program, authorized in permanent law (the
Agricultural Act of 1949) and administered by USDA, provides for the donation
overseas of surplus agricultural commodities owned by the CCC. This component
of food aid is the most variable because it is entirely dependent on the availability of
surplus commodities in CCC inventories. Section 416(b) donations may not reduce
the amounts of commodities that traditionally are donated to domestic feeding
programs or agencies, prevent the fulfillment of any agreement entered into under a
payment-in-kind program, or disrupt normal commercial sales.
Food for Progress (FFP).23 FFP, first authorized by the Food for Progress
Act of 1985 and also administered by USDA, provides commodities to support
countries that have made commitments to expand free enterprise in their agricultural
economies. Commodities may be provided under the authority of P.L. 480 or Section
416(b). The CCC may also purchase commodities for use in FFP programs if the
commodities are currently not held in CCC stocks. Organizations eligible to carry
out FFP programs include PVOs, cooperatives, and intergovernmental organizations
such as the WFP. The 2002 farm bill requires that a minimum of 400,000 metric
tons of commodities be provided in the FFP program.
22 Additional information on Section 416(b) is available at [http://www.fas.usda.gov/
23 Additional information on the Food for Progress program is available at [http://www.fas.
McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child
Nutrition Program.24 The FSRIA authorizes this new food aid program, which can
use commodities and financial and technical assistance to carry out preschool and
school food for education programs and maternal, infant and child nutrition programs
in foreign countries. Private voluntary organizations, cooperatives, and the World
Food Program and foreign governments are all eligible organizations for carrying out
these activities. FSRIA mandated CCC funding of $100 million for the program in
FY2003 and authorizes appropriations of “such sums as necessary” from FY2004 to
FY2007. McGovern-Dole replaces the pilot Global Food for Education Initiative
discussed below. By decision of the President, as mandated by the 2002 farm bill,
USDA, rather than USAID, administers this program. Legislation (H.R. 6229) was
introduced in the 109th Congress, and is expected to be reintroduced in the 110th, to
increase substantially spending on McGovern-Dole and to make spending on the
The Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust (BEHT).25 The 2002 farm bill
reauthorized the BEHT, enacted in the 1998 Africa Seeds of Hope Act (P.L. 105-
385), through FY2007. The BEHT replaced the Food Security Commodity Reserve
established in the 1996 farm bill and its predecessor, the Food Security Wheat
Reserve of 1980. Not technically a food aid program, the trust is primarily a reserve
of up to 4 million metric tons of wheat, corn, sorghum, and rice that can be used to
help fulfill P.L. 480 food aid commitments to developing countries under two
conditions: (1) to meet unanticipated emergency needs in developing countries, or
(2) when U.S. domestic supplies are short. Since 1980, the only commodity held in
reserve has been wheat. The trust also can hold cash in reserve.
The John Ogonowski Farmer-to-Farmer Program. The Farmer-to-
Farmer program (FTF), first authorized in the 1985 farm bill, was reauthorized by the
2002 farm bill and renamed in honor of John Ogonowski, a pilot killed on September
11, 2001. Ogonowski had participated in the Farmer-to-Farmer program. FTF is a
program of technical assistance (not commodity food aid) provided to farmers, farm
organizations, and agribusinesses in developing and transitional countries. The
program mobilizes the expertise of volunteers from U.S. farms, land grant
universities, cooperatives, private agribusinesses, and nonprofit organizations to carry
out projects overseas. The FSRIA provides minimum funding for FTF at 0.5% of the
funds appropriated for P.L. 480 programs. Special emphasis is given to FTF
activities in the Caribbean Basin and sub-Saharan Africa. FTF funding under the
current farm bill has been $10 million annually.
Recent Food Aid Program Activity
P.L. 480 food aid averaged around $1.1 billion from 1996 to 1998. In FY1999,
however, more than $1.8 billion in P.L. 480 food aid was provided. Although only
around $1.1 billion was appropriated for P.L. 480 in FY1999, the final total included
24 Additional information the McGovern-Dole program is available at [http://www.fas.
25 Additional information on the Emerson Trust is available at [http://www.fas.usda.gov/
approximately $700 million of Title I food aid for Russia, which was financed by a
transfer of funds from the CCC. The FY2000 program level for P.L. 480 was $1.3
billion, while FY2001 P.L. 480 spending was $1.086 billion and the FY2002
program level was $1.270 billion, including Emerson Trust releases valued at $175
million. In FY2003, the food aid program level spiked again as Congress
appropriated more than $1.8 billion for emergency humanitarian assistance under
P.L. 480 Title II to meet emergency needs in Africa, Afghanistan, and Iraq. P.L. 480
Title II food aid for FY2005 was $2.1 billion, which included $377 million of
commodities from the Emerson Trust.
Commodity donations under Section 416(b) were $213 million (commodity
value and ocean freight and overseas distribution costs) in FY2003, consisting of
surplus nonfat dry milk. In contrast, Section 416(b) donations averaged about $1
billion a year from FY1999 to FY2002. Such large donations were made possible
following CCC purchases of over 8 million metric tons of surplus wheat and wheat
flour in FYs 1999 and 2000.
The United States has provided on average $2.2 billion annually of international
food assistance under the current farm bill (FY2002-FY2006).
Releases from the Emerson Trust. On April 14, 2008, the President
directed the Secretary of Agriculture to draw down the Bill Emerson Humanitarian
Trust (a reserve of commodities and cash to meet unanticipated food aid needs) by
$200 million to address the impact of rising commodity prices on U.S. emergency
food aid programs and to meet unanticipated food aid needs in Africa and elsewhere.
Before the announcement of this latest release from the trust, it held 915,000 metric
tons of wheat and $117 million in cash.
Since 2002, there have been five releases from the Emerson Trust. The
Secretary of Agriculture announced releases from the trust of 275,000 tons of wheat
on June 10, 2002, and 300,000 tons of wheat on August 28, 2002. The wheat from
the reserve was exchanged for an equal value of corn, beans and vegetable oil for use
in humanitarian relief in southern Africa, where an estimated 14.4 million people
needed emergency food aid to compensate for severe food shortages and stave off
famine through much of 2003. In FY2003, the Secretary announced releases of
200,000 metric tons for emergency food needs in Eritrea and Ethiopia and 600,000
metric tons for emergency needs in Iraq. Of the announced releases, only about half,
400,000 metric tons, were used. Partial replenishment of the trust was addressed in
the FY2003 Emergency Wartime Supplemental Appropriations Act. There were no
releases from the trust in FY2004. On December 3, 2005, the Secretary of
Agriculture and the Administrator of USAID announced the release of 200,000
metric tons of wheat from the trust for emergency food relief to western Sudan. On
June 7, 2005, the President announced that $250 million (500,000 metric tons) of
Emerson Trust commodities would be used to meet emergency needs in Africa.
Food Aid Issues
The U.S. food aid program is often criticized as an inefficient way to meet the
objectives of relieving emergency food needs or fostering economic and agricultural
development in receiving countries. Critics, including the Administration, point to
delayed arrivals of up to four months when U.S. commodities are shipped in response
to emergency situations. Ocean transportation costs can be high. In FY2006, USAID
estimated that almost half of its food aid allocations went to paying the cost of
transportation (ocean transport and internal shipping costs).26 Ocean freight rates
vary from year to year, but paying such costs is one reason that both USDA and
USAID have proposed in various budget proposals allocating some portion of funds
available to P.L. 480 Title II emergency programs to purchase commodities in areas
near to the emergency. The Administration argues that with local or regional
purchase, not only could more food be purchased at lower prices, but the food could
be delivered more rapidly. Congressional and other critics of the local purchase
proposal maintain that allowing non-U.S. commodities to be purchased would result
in undermining the coalition of commodity groups, private voluntary organizations,
and shippers that support the program and in reductions in U.S. food aid.27
Related to the question of cost-effectiveness is the cargo preference issue. The
Cargo Preference Act, P.L. 83-644 (August 26, 1954), as amended, contains
permanent legislation concerning the transportation of waterborne cargoes in
U.S.-flag vessels. The act requires that 75% of the volume of U.S. agricultural
commodities financed under P.L. 480 and other concessional financing arrangements
be shipped on privately owned U.S.-registered vessels. Maritime interests generally
support cargo preference, but proponents of P.L. 480 argue that it increases the costs
of shipping U.S. commodities to poor countries and potentially reduces the volume
of food aid provided. A GAO report found that shipments of food aid on U.S.-flag
vessels did little to meet the law’s objective of helping to maintain a U.S. merchant
marine and that cargo preference requirements adversely affect operations of the food
aid programs, chiefly by raising the cost of ocean transportation and reducing the
volume of commodities that can be shipped.28
The monetization (selling in local markets) of food aid commodities also is an
issue. A P.L. 480 provision (Section 203) first included in the Food Security Act of
1985 (P.L. 99-198) allows private voluntary organizations and cooperatives to sell
a percentage of donated P.L. 480 commodities in the recipient country or in countries
in the same region. Under Section 203 of P.L. 480, private voluntary organizations
or cooperatives are permitted to sell (i.e., monetize) for local currencies or dollars an
amount of commodities equal to not less than 15% of the total amount of
commodities distributed in any fiscal year in a country. The currency generated by
these sales can then be used to finance internal transportation, storage, or distribution
of commodities; to implement development projects; or to invest and with the
interest earned to finance distribution costs or projects.
26 See USAID FY2006 Congressional Budget Justification at [http://www.usaid.gov/policy/
budget/cbj 2006/pdf/fy2006summt abs6_PL480T itleII.pdf].
27 See H.Rept. 109-255 on H.R. 2744, the FY2006 agriculture appropriations measure.
28 See General Accountability Office, “Cargo Preference Requirements: Objectives Not Met
When Applied to Food Aid Programs,” September 29, 1994, available at [http://archive.gao.
Many of the organizations that rely on sales of U.S. food aid commodities to
finance development projects support monetization as their major source of
development finance. Some private voluntary organizations, however, have begun
to question the use of monetization as a source of funds.29 CARE, which has been
a major supporter of monetization in the past, has decided to transition out of
monetization over the next two years. According to CARE, monetization is
management-intensive and costly and fraught with legal and financial risks. In
addition, it is economically inefficient. As CARE notes in its food policy paper:
“Purchasing food in the U.S., shipping it overseas, and then selling it to generate
funds for food security programs is far less cost-effective than the logical alternative
— simply providing cash to fund food security programs.” Finally, echoing
criticisms of food aid heard in WTO Doha Round negotiations, CARE notes that
when monetization involves open-market sale of commodities to generate cash,
which is almost always the case, it inevitability causes commercial displacement. As
such, it can be harmful to traders and local farmers and undermine the development
of local markets, and be detrimental to longer-term food security objectives. Catholic
Relief Services (CRS) has taken a similar position with respect to monetization.30
Using some portion of the funds available to food aid programs to make local
or regional purchases of emergency food aid rather than U.S. commodities has been
an issue in annual food aid appropriations debates since 2003. The issue is discussed
The Administration’s Farm Bill Food Aid Proposal
The Administration made only one farm bill food aid proposal. Secretary
Johanns, in his January 2007 farm bill recommendations, proposed that Congress
provide legislative authorization to use up to 25% of funds available annually to P.L.
480 Title II to procure food from selected developing countries near the site of a
crisis. The Administration justifies this proposal on the grounds that the U.S.
response to food emergencies would be more efficient and cost-effective if
commodities could be procured locally. The Administration’s farm bill document
notes instances in which the U.S. food aid response to emergencies would have been
enhanced with this kind of authority: Iraq in 2003, the Asian tsunami in 2004,
Southern and West Africa in 2005, and East Africa in 2006. As if anticipating the
same congressional antipathy expressed in regard to this idea in past budget requests,
the Administration is careful to note that “U.S. grown food will continue to play the
primary role and will be the first choice in meeting global needs.” Local and regional
purchases would be made only where the speed of the arrival of food aid is essential.
29 See White Paper on Food Aid Policy, CARE USA, June 6, 2006, at [http://www.care.org/
30 See Catholic Relief Services, Food Aid and Food Security, at [http://www.crs.org/
Farm Bill Legislative Action on Food Aid
Title III of the House-Passed (H.R. 2419) and Senate-reported farm bill
reauthorizes and amends U.S. international food aid programs. Title III in both bills
extends these programs through 2012. The House bill disregards the one food aid
recommendation from the Administration to allocate up to a quarter of P.L. 480 Title
II funds to local or regional purchase of emergency food aid. However, the Senate bill
includes authority to use P.L. 480 Title II funds for a pilot program for local or
regional purchase of emergency food aid commodities.
H.R. 2419 extends the P.L. 480 food aid programs through 2012, and authorizes
discretionary appropriations for P.L. 480 Title II humanitarian donations of $2.5
billion annually. If appropriated, that amount would represent a very substantial
increase over the $1.2 billion appropriated annually in recent years. An increase in
appropriations for P.L. 480 Title II of this magnitude was initially a provision in H.R.
2488, the House Foreign Affairs Committee-reported version of the farm bill’s trade
title. H.R. 2419 also extends the minimum tonnage requirements of Title II through
2012. The House-passed bill also increases the amount of cash that could be allocated
to PVOs to pay for project-related expenses. H.R. 2419 increases Section 202(e)
cash support to not less than 7% nor more than 12% of funds available to Title II.
The Senate version of Title III also reauthorizes P.L. 480 food aid programs and
extends the minimum tonnage requirements for Title II through 2012. In contrast to
H.R. 2419, the Senate bill does not increase the appropriation for Title II. The Senate
bill increases the share of Title II funds that can be used to cover project-related
expenses of PVOs to not less than 7.5%, but specifies no upper limit as in the House
bill and current law.
Non-Emergency Development Food Aid
The House-passed bill stipulates that of the funds made available for Title II, not
less than $450 million annually be made available for nonemergency (development)
food aid. This minimum level of non-emergency assistance could not be waived
unless requested by the Administrator of USAID, followed by enactment of a law
approving the Administrator’s request. The Senate bill also establishes a hard
earmark of $600 million for development food aid that also would not be subject to
waivers. Following passage of the House-passed bill, the Office of Management and
Budget, in its Statement of Administrative Policy, said that it strongly opposed this
provision because it would deprive the Administration of the ability to quickly waive
it in an emergency. OMB estimated that this House bill provision would result in a
$100 million decrease in emergency food aid. OMB also opposes the hard earmark
in the Senate bill.
Local or Regional Purchase for Emergency Food Aid
The House-passed farm bill disregarded the Administration’s sole farm bill food
aid proposal for legislative authority to allocate up to 25% of Title II funds to local
or regional purchase of commodities for emergency relief. H.R. 2419 did, however,
stipulate that $40 million of the funds appropriated for USAID’s International
Disaster and Famine Assistance (IDFA) program be allocated to famine prevention
and relief. IDFA funds can be used to purchase commodities locally or regionally,
although other demands on IDFA for emergency supplies constrain the amount of
food that could be purchased. In contrast, the Senate farm bill establishes a pilot
program, authorized at $25 million annually, to explore how local or regional
procurement of food in emergency situations might be used.
Other P.L. 480 Provisions
Both bills extend provision for the Food Aid Consultative Group (FACG),
which reviews the effectiveness of rules for the Title II program. The group is
composed of representatives of USAID, USDA, PVOs, recipient countries, and U.S.
agricultural producers. The Senate bill adds a representative of the maritime transport
sector to the FACG.
Both bills extend the authorization for USAID grants for stockpiling and
distributing shelf-stable foods. The House bill increases the amount that can be
appropriated from $3 million to $7 million; the Senate bill increases the amount to
$8 million. In addition, the bills extend authorization for the use of P.L. 480 funds
for prepositioning of agricultural commodities overseas. The House bill increases
from not more than $2 million to not more than $8 million the amount that can be
spent to store commodities overseas. The Senate bill increases the amount that can
be spent on overseas storage to not more than $4 million.
Both reauthorize the Ogonowski Farmer-to-Farmer program. The House bill
provides a floor level of annual funding for the Farmer-to-Farmer Program of $10
million or not less than 0.5%, whichever is greater, and authorizes appropriations of
$10 million for sub-Saharan African and Caribbean Basin countries and $5 million
for all other countries. The Senate bill reauthorizes the program without change.
Other Food Aid Programs
Food for Progress. H.R. 2419 reauthorizes, without change, the Food for
Progress program through FY2012. The Senate bill also reauthorizes Food for
Progress and increases the amount that can be spent on transporting commodities
from $40 million annually to $48 million for FY2008-FY2010.
McGovern-Dole Food for Education. In reauthorizing the McGovern-
Dole program, the House-passed bill changes its funding basis from discretionary to
mandatory and increases spending from $140 million in FY2009 to $300 million in
FY2012. Funding for McGovern-Dole under the 2002 farm bill has averaged around
$97 million annually. These provisions for the McGovern-Dole program —
substantially increasing funding and making it mandatory — are virtually identical
to those included in H.R. 1616 (McGovern) and S. 946 (Durbin), introduced earlier
in the 110th Congress. Mandatory McGovern-Dole spending would be offset by
changes in the federal crop insurance program. The Senate bill reauthorizes the food
for education program, but calls for $300 million in discretionary appropriations to
fund the program.
The Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust. The Senate bill reauthorizes the
Emerson Trust through 2012 and makes a number of changes in the statute governing
the trust. The bill specifies that the trust can be held as a combination of commodities
and cash, not to exceed the equivalent of 4 million tons of commodities.
Commodities held in the trust can be exchanged for funds available under P.L. 480
Title II, the McGovern-Dole program, or the market, if the Secretary of Agriculture
determines that such sales will not disrupt the domestic market. The bill allows the
funds held in the trust to be invested in low-risk short-term securities or instruments.
The House-passed farm bill extended authority for the Emerson Trust through
FY2012 without other modifications.
Congressional Action on Appropriations
FY2009 Budget Request
USDA’s international activities are funded by discretionary appropriations (e.g.,
foreign food assistance under P.L. 480) and by using the borrowing authority of the
CCC (e.g., export credit guarantees, market development programs, and export
subsidies). Combined, the total program value for FY2009 would be $4.965 billion,
with $1.475 billion appropriated. The FY2009 program level is $481 million more
than FY2008 (+11%), with most of the difference accounted for by increases in
short-term export credit guarantees. The Administration requests an appropriation of
$173 million for the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) to administer its
For P.L. 480, USDA requests a $1.2 billion appropriation for Title II commodity
donations, but with recent food price inflation, that appropriation would purchase far
fewer commodities than in recent years. The President’s budget requests no funds for
P.L. 480 Title I loans, nor any for the Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust, which
currently holds 917,000 metric tons of wheat and $117 million in cash. The budget
assumes $340 million of CCC funds for Food for Progress (FFP) to aid emerging
democracies, and a constant $100 million appropriation for the McGovern-Dole
International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program. The Administration
again proposes to allow USAID to use up to 25% of P.L. 480 Title II funds for local
or regional purchases in food crises. Congress has rejected similar requests annually
CCC export credit guarantee programs finance U.S. agricultural exports. USDA
requests $2.6 billion in short-term guarantees, $75 million in guarantees to finance
agriculture-related facilities in emerging markets, and no long-term guarantees. The
fee structure is risk-based, and high-risk countries are eliminated. The Market Access
Program (MAP), which promotes sales of high-value products, would receive its
authorized level of $200 million. Pending a new farm bill, no funding is incorporated
for the Foreign Market Development Program (FMDP), the Emerging Markets
Program (EMP), and the Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops Program (TASC).