Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops Program
The Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 created the Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops (TASC) program and authorized the use of $2 million of Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) resources in each fiscal year from 2002 through 2007. This will assist exports of specialty crops including all cultivated plants and their products produced in the United States except wheat, feed grains, oilseeds, cotton, rice, peanuts, sugar and tobacco.
How the program benefits U.S. agriculture: TASC is designed to assist U.S. organizations by providing funding for projects that address sanitary, phytosanitary, and technical barriers that prohibit or threaten the export of U.S. specialty crops. Examples of activities these grants may cover include seminars and workshops, study tours, field surveys, pest and disease research, and pre-clearance programs.
How the program works: TASC proposals are accepted from any U.S. organization, including, but not limited to: U.S. government agencies, state government agencies, non-profit trade associations, universities, agricultural cooperatives, and private companies. The Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), which administers the program, provides grant funds as direct assistance to U.S. organizations.
Each year, USDA announces an application period for participation in TASC, publishing it in the Federal Register. TASC applications undergo a competitive review process based on criteria specified in the Federal Register announcement. Funds are awarded to applicants that demonstrate how their project will overcome trade barriers resulting in market access and expansion for specialty crops. Award maximums are $250,000 for projects of up to three years. Proposals may target any eligible export market, including single countries or reasonable regional groupings of countries. Applicants may submit multiple proposals, but no TASC participant may have more than three projects underway at a time. FAS sets a program funding level for each approve application and signs a program agreement with the participant. Funds may be requested as advance payments or on a reimbursement basis. Participants are required to maintain records and documents associated with the program agreement. All projects are subject to review by U.S. government officials.
Where to get information: To submit a TASC proposal or to find more about the program, contact the USDA-FAS Marketing Operations Staff AG Box 1042, 1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, DC 20250-1042; Phone: (202) 720-4327; on the Internet at: http://www.fas.usda.gov/mos/default.htm
Information on FAS programs, trade data, and reports are available by accessing the FAS Home Page at: http://www.fas.usda.gov.[../../images/footer.html]