USA Rice Federation and 111 other members of the Coalition to Promote U.S. Agricultural Exports wrote to U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, R-Okla., to urge reconsideration of his criticism of the Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development Program (FMD) in  his proposal, "Back in Black: A Deficit Reduction Plan."

"Back in Black" incorrectly characterizes the Market Access Program (MAP), the Foreign Market Development (FMD) Program and other U. S. Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) export development programs as redundant "corporate welfare," the coalition said. "We ask you to join the majority in Congress that have long supported them."

With agricultural exports being the strongest component of the U.S. economy, the coalition said that it is unfortunate that critics of MAP, FMD and similar tools choose to misrepresent branded agricultural products and to perpetuate myths about the farm export development programs, which have helped greatly increase U.S. food and agricultural exports.  The organizations maintain that U.S. agricultural exports have increased by nearly 300 percent since 1985, with more than 1 million Americans jobs that depend on them.  During the 2002-2009 period, for "every additional $1 expended by government and industry on market development, U.S. food and agricultural exports increased by $35, a 35 to 1 return on investment," they said.

USA Rice Federation is a longtime successful participant and leader in the MAP and FMD programs.