KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns today announced $200 million worth of funding to 67 U.S. trade organizations to promote U.S. agricultural products overseas.

"USDA supports efforts to reach out to consumers around the world to demonstrate the high quality and variety of American food products," said Johanns. "The importance of trade is highlighted by predictions of a fourth straight year of record agricultural exports, which have become a critical part of the revenue portfolio for producers. USDA will continue to help our farmers and ranchers gain access to growing global markets."

Once final numbers are tallied, U.S. agricultural exports for fiscal year 2006 are expected to be $68 billion, up from the previous record of $62.5 billion last year. Fiscal year 2007 exports are expected to reach $72 billion-setting yet another record.

The fiscal year 2006 allocations announced today will be administered under the Foreign Agricultural Service's Market Access Program (MAP). The MAP uses funds from USDA's Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) to share the costs of overseas marketing and promotional activities with U.S. agricultural trade organizations, state regional groups, and cooperatives. Activities conducted with MAP funding include market research, consumer promotions for retail products, and seminars to educate overseas customers.

A listing for fiscal year 2006 allocations for the MAP is online.

For more information on the Market Access Program, call the FAS Marketing Operations Staff at (202) 720-4327 or visit the FAS Web site.

SOURCE: USDA news release.