USDA Accepting Applications for Fiscal Year 2012 Export Assistance

WASHINGTON, April 15, 2011—The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced that it is accepting applications for 2012 funding for five export market development programs administered by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service: the Market Access Program (MAP), the Foreign Market Development Cooperator Program (FMD), the Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops (TASC) Program, the Quality Samples Program (QSP), and the Emerging Markets Program (EMP). All the programs are designed to help expand commercial export markets for U.S. agricultural products. 

"USDA’s export assistance programs are just one way that we are helping U.S. organizations and businesses of all sizes break into foreign markets," said FAS Administrator John Brewer. "With higher wages, rising populations and an expanding middle class, high-quality U.S. agricultural products are more appealing than ever. Strong trade is a key contributor to building an economy that continues to grow, innovate and out-compete the rest of the world." 

Applications for all five programs are due by 5 p.m. Eastern Time on May 16, 2011. For QSP, TASC, and EMP, applications received after this deadline will be considered for funding if money remains available following the initial funding decision. 

The MAP provides cost-share assistance to nonprofit U.S. trade organizations and small-sized entities to help create, expand and maintain foreign markets for U.S. agricultural commodities and products. MAP participants must contribute a minimum of 10 percent of the funds provided by the program for the cost of generic marketing and promotion activities and a dollar for dollar match for branded promotions. Under the MAP, unlike the FMD, funding can be used for activities that directly target individual consumers. 

The FMD program provides cost-share assistance to nonprofit U.S. agricultural trade organizations to develop and maintain foreign markets for U.S. agricultural products. FMD cooperators must contribute a minimum of 50 percent of the funds provided by the program. FMD funds are allocated to U.S. trade organizations with the broadest possible producer representation. Priority is given to organizations that are nationwide in membership and scope. Activities must contribute to the maintenance or growth of demand for agricultural commodities and generally address long-term foreign import constraints and export growth opportunities. 

The TASC program is designed to assist U.S. organizations by providing funding for projects that address sanitary, phytosanitary, or related technical barriers that prohibit or threaten the export of U.S. specialty crops. U.S. specialty crops, for the purpose of the TASC program, are defined to include all cultivated plants, or the products thereof, produced in the United States, except wheat, feed grains, oilseeds, cotton, rice, peanuts, sugar, and tobacco. 

The QSP helps U.S. organizations supply samples of U.S. commodities to potential foreign buyers to be used in technical assistance projects displaying product quality and proper use as a means to encourage new purchases. The program supports projects that benefit whole industries rather than individual companies. When a project is finished, USDA reimburses the costs for procuring and exporting the samples.

The EMP assists U.S. entities in developing, maintaining, or expanding exports of U.S. agricultural commodities and products by funding activities that improve emerging markets’ food and rural business systems. EMP funded activities may include assessing the food and rural business of an emerging market or transferring U.S. agricultural knowledge or expertise or providing technical assistance to individuals or organizations in an emerging market. For private sector proposals there is a cost-share requirement with priority consideration given to those proposals with higher amounts of cost-share. 

Organizations are encouraged, but not required, to submit their applications to FAS using the on-line Unified Export Strategy (UES). The Web-based application is on the Internet at http://www.fas.usda.gov/cooperators.html. Please contact FAS’s Program Operations Division at (202) 720-4327 for a log-on ID and password. 

Applicants also have the option of submitting an electronic application in the UES format to FAS by e-mail or on CD-Rom. Please contact FAS’s Program Operations Division at (202) 720-4327 for an application.

Applications not submitted via the Internet can be hand delivered to USDA, Foreign Agricultural Service, Program Operations Division, Portals Office Building, Suite 400, 1250 Maryland Ave., S.W., Washington, DC, 20024; or e-mailed to podadmin@fas.usda.gov.    

Prior to submitting applications, all private-sector applicants must obtain a Dun & Bradstreet (DUNS) number, at no cost, by calling (866) 705-5711.

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