The USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) has announced changes to the Market Access Program (MAP) that will streamline requirements in areas ranging from application procedures to project evaluations. MAP funding is an important marketing tool that helped push U.S. pork exports to a record $6.1 billion in 2011.

The Market Access Program has provided enormous returns to the U.S. pork industry since its creation in 1985. With the support of MAP funds in combination with efforts by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) significant promotion resources are applied in support of U.S. pork exports to key markets around the world.

The changes to MAP complement many other improvements made across USDA as part of the Blueprint for Stronger Service—the Department’s signature effort to modernize and accelerate service delivery.

MAP helps finance activities to market and promote U.S. pork as well as other agricultural commodities and products internationally. When MAP funds are used for generic marketing and promotion activities, participants must contribute a minimum 10 percent match for MAP funds. For branded promotions, a dollar-for-dollar match is required.

"USDA’s market development programs have a long history of helping farmers, ranchers, and businesses of all sizes build and maintain commercial markets for U.S. food and agricultural products around the world," said FAS Administrator Suzanne Heinen. "For every dollar that government and industry invest in market development programs and activities, agricultural exports increase by $35."

Changes made to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of MAP include:

Streamlining application and planning requirements under FAS’ Unified Export Strategy;

Specifying the types of activities eligible for reimbursement under the program;

Documenting operational procedures for MAP projects promoting branded products;

Requiring program participants to establish fraud prevention programs;

Revising processes for evaluation, contracting, compliance review and appeals.

Read the final MAP rule.