The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the Agricultural Trade Promotion Program in August and the American Sheep Industry Association applied for funds in advance of today’s deadline in an effort to promote American wool and sheepskins to alternative international markets.
The program is designed to help American agricultural products affected by recent adverse trade conditions. China has long been the major buyer of American wool and sheepskins, so recent tariffs announced by the country were a blow to the industry.
Administered by the Foreign Agriculture Service, ATP Program funds would be used to promote sheepskins at trade shows in an effort to boost the market in that area of the industry. The funds would also provide support for exploring new markets for American wool in Eastern Asia, the Middle East and South America. This would allow for an effort similar to the existing Quality Samples Program, which ASI already uses to support the trial use of American wool exports around the world.
Additionally, funds would support promotion efforts and education of international buyers as to the benefits of American wool.
“China has been a key market for American wool and sheepskins,” said ASI Deputy Director Rita Samuelson. “The agriculture industry is fortunate to have a USDA/FAS program that supports the exploration of new or expansion of current export markets during this unexpected change in trade policy.
“With the tariff changes, ASI has been active visiting with wool and sheepskin exporters and identifying target markets. ASI is also looking at ways to further support the export of American wool while working collaboratively on projects.”