'Treasure MAP:' Under fire again

06/15/2012 02:45:00 PM
Tom Karst

    (2) by adding at the end the following:

    ``(3) PROHIBITION ON USE OF FUNDS FOR CERTAIN ACTIVITIES.--None of the funds made available to carry out this subsection shall be used for--

    ``(A) wine tastings;

    ``(B) animal spa products;

    ``(C) reality television shows; or

    ``(D) cat or dog food.''.

TK: We don't know if this amendment by Coburn will even be included in the Senate debate, or if the farm bill debate will proceed. 

Supporters of MAP have been able to make a convincing case up until now that export promotion is needed  more than ever, objections to animal spa products and Indian reality television shows notwithstanding.

"Both the Coalition to Promote U.S. Agricultural Exports and the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives strongly oppose the (Coburn) amendment," said  Justin Darisse, director of communications at the Washington, D.C.-based National Council of Farmer Cooperatives.

Darisse said the MAP program has a 35 to 1 return on investment and is critically important for the ability of the U.S. exporters to compete with subsidized exports from other countries. "The arguments are really on our side."

In addition, he said that Coburn's objections to individual funding decisions would crimp the creative marketing efforts in overseas markets.

The industry should be able to hold on to MAP, but it is obvious Coburn, McCain and others will use the program to grandstand if the amendment is approved for floor debate.


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