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July 16, 2023 – WASHINGTON – Last week, U.S. Representative Jim Costa (CA-21), a senior member of the House Agriculture Committee, joined Representatives Randy Feenstra (IA-04), Salud Carbajal (CA-24), and Tracey Mann (KS-01) to introduce the Fortifying Refrigeration Infrastructure and Developing Global Exports (FRIDGE) Act, which would direct the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to negotiate contracts to deliver needs assessments, training, and other technical assistance to enhance infrastructure construction – including cold chain storage – in new and developing foreign markets.
“Our agricultural economy relies on efficient refrigeration systems to put food on America’s dinner table. We need to invest in our infrastructure to better store and deliver American products around the world,” said Costa. “This legislation will build a more resilient supply chain and expand access to new export markets for American producers.”
“Meeting with Iowa farmers and producers on my biannual 36 County Tour, I repeatedly hear that opening new export markets for agricultural goods is vital to our farm economy and rural main streets in the 4th Congressional District. However, without robust market development and critical infrastructure, our producers are significantly limited in their ability to export their high-quality products around the world,” said Feenstra. “I’m proud to work with my colleagues on the House Agriculture Committee to introduce legislation that will develop much-needed infrastructure to ship our beef, chicken, turkey, pork, grains, specialty crops, and other perishable goods worldwide. While the Biden Administration refuses to negotiate new trade agreements and help our farmers access foreign markets, I will continue to do everything in my power to support our producers and end our reliance on only a handful of export markets.”
“America excels in exporting value-added agricultural products like protein and grain to the world,” said Mann. “The lack of cold storage and distribution, however, is a significant barrier to expanding and diversifying American markets. To remain the world leader in market access, we must make strong investments in cold chain technology. I am proud to introduce the FRIDGE Act alongside Representatives Feenstra, Costa, and Carbajal to ensure American producers remain competitive in the international marketplace.”
In 2021, the top three markets for our pork: China, Japan, and Mexico, accounted for 63% of U.S. exports. In that same year, the top three markets for beef: Japan, South Korea, and China accounted for 60% of U.S. exports. These facts underscore the need to maintain these trading partners and establish new markets to build a resilient supply chain for Iowa producers.
The FRIDGE Act would add a section promoting infrastructure in the Foreign Market Development (FMD) program, and to fund this paragraph, funds will be authorized at $1,000,000 annually from FY24-28. If there are leftover funds not allocated, those funds will go into the main FMD pot of money for the benefit of all producers and exporting organizations.
The text of the bill is available HERE.
Source: Congressman Jim Costa