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ELIMINATION OF EXPORT PROGRAMS WOULD HURT ECONOMY AND JOBS SAYS NATIONAL AG LEADER

WASHINGTON, March 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Calling it a "recipe for slower growth, fewer jobs, and a worsening trade deficit," the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (NCFC) today took strong exception to proposals before Congress in favor of eliminating critically needed export programs such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Market Promotion Program (MPP).

"Every country engaged in international trade has policies and programs in place to help it compete more effectively, and to maintain and expand its share of the world market," said NCFC President Wayne Boutwell. "The European Union and other foreign competitors continue to heavily outspend the U.S. in terms of their use of subsidies and in promoting their exports in an effort to capture a larger and larger share of the world market. Without a similar commitment," he added, "America's farmers, ranchers, and workers will be at a substantial competitive disadvantage. The choice is simple," he added, "we can export our products or we can export our jobs."

Currently, over one million Americans have jobs that depend on U.S. agricultural exports. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), every billion dollars in additional agricultural exports helps create nearly 20,000 new jobs - in production, processing, marketing, transportation and shipping, as well as in other industries that supply goods and services relating to agriculture.

U.S. agricultural export programs, including MPP, have come under attack in recent weeks by opponents who fail to fully understand how the program works. Boutwell explained that "the program serves as a 'Buy American' program by encouraging the promotion and sale of only American grown and produced agricultural commodities and related products. MPP and other market development programs have helped encourage industry self-help efforts, counter unfair foreign trade practices, and promote greater awareness and demand among foreign consumers for U.S. produced agricultural commodities and related products.

The importance of these programs is reflected in the fact that USDA now expects agricultural exports to exceed $60 billion this year, accounting for nearly one-third of domestic production.

In addition to helping boost farm income, such exports are expected to generate approximately $100 billion in related economic activity; result in a positive trade balance of $30 billion, thereby reducing the overall U.S. trade deficit; provide billions of dollars more in additional tax revenues at every level; and create needed jobs throughout the economy.

Boutwell concluded that, "Rather than engage in unilateral disarmament as some suggest, we need a strategy that is more pro trade, pro growth, and pro jobs. Such a strategy is one that ensures that U.S. policies remain equally competitive with those of other countries, and are aggressively implemented as allowed under GATT and U.S. law."

The National Council of Farmer Cooperatives represents nearly 80 major farmer marketing, supply, and credit cooperatives, plus 30 state councils of Cooperatives. Its members, in turn, represent nearly 4,200 local cooperatives with a combined membership of nearly two million individual farmers.

UPCOMING MEETINGS:

National Institute on Cooperative Education (NICE)

August 5-8, 1996, St. Louis, MO

NCFC Annual Meeting

January 12-16, 1997, San Diego, CA
 -0- 3/7/96


/EDITORS' ADVISORY: NCFC President Wayne Boutwell is available for interviews. To set up an interview time, please call Lisa Keller, NCFC's vice president, communications and member relations, at 202-626-8700./

/CONTACT: Lisa Keller of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, 202-626-8700/

CO: National Council of Farmer Cooperatives ST: District of Columbia IN: AGR SU:

ER-KD -- DCTH035 -- 1308 03/07/96 16:36 EST
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Date:Mar 7, 1996
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