SFPA receives $1.24 million in RAPP funding

SFPA receives $1.24 million in RAPP funding

The Southern Forest Products Association has received approval for $1.24 million in funding over five years from the USDA Foreign Agriculture Service’s Regional Agricultural Promotion Program (RAPP).

The USDA announced the funding May 21 for the $1.2 billion program launched in 2023 to support market development activities to expand exports, address trade barriers, and showcase American agricultural products in new and diverse markets.

“The RAPP program allows SFPA to complement established promotional efforts that educate trade and consumers about the benefits of Southern Yellow Pine (SYP) lumber in two important markets: Egypt and the Caribbean,” said SFPA Executive Director Eric Gee. “RAPP’s five-year award will expand efforts to lay a firm foundation of knowledge about SYP in Egypt and provide a long-term strategy of consistency and presence in the Caribbean region, where sustainably grown SYP from the United States is desired for its strength and quality.”

The RAPP program aims to diversify and expand market opportunities for U.S. food and agricultural products beyond the traditional top customers – Canada, Mexico, the European Union, and China (including Hong Kong and Macau) – which collectively comprise nearly 60% of U.S. agricultural export sales, according to FAS. Instead, RAPP will focus on enhancing U.S. exports to new markets in parts of the world – including South and Southeast Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa – where the middle class is growing and the desire for high-quality food and farm products is increasing.

SFPA has facilitated international trade of Southern Pine lumber for more than 35 years, receiving federal funding to assist in foreign market development. The RAPP funds will bolster SFPA’s international program, which offers companies a variety of ways to get engaged and take advantage of the promotion opportunities.

From issuing verified trade leads that come in via a product inquiry to its network of members experienced in lumber exports or through travel to sponsored trade events, SFPA’s international program helps grow exports of Southern Pine lumber. In 2023 alone, those efforts generated:

  • shipping containers of Southern Pine lumber requested via
  • 490 Mbf of Southern Pine lumber exports (2022 figures)
  • $8 million-plus in new sales from 67 trade leads at sponsored trade shows around the world

“More trees are planted each year than are harvested, and the southern forest is a growing resource,” Gee said. “The opportunity to promote America’s most abundant renewable building material through export programs like RAPP helps foster trade, build communities, and improve lives of those throughout the entire supply chain.”

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