The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) this week announced that it is accepting applications for 2011 funding for five export market development programs. The programs are 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).
The general purpose of these programs, although there are some differences, is to create, expand and maintain foreign markets for U.S. agricultural commodities and support projects that benefit whole industries rather than individual companies. Depending on the program, applicants must be nonprofit U.S. agricultural trade organizations, U.S. agricultural cooperatives or a state agency. Applicants must agree to cost share and contribute resources to their proposed activities.
The American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) has received funding through some of these programs in previous years to promote sheep industry products overseas and will again apply for 2011 dollars.
"The sheep industry made a strong showing with positive results from these programs in past years," said Rita Kourlis Samuelson, ASI's wool marketing director. "This is extremely important funding for the U.S. wool industry as it continues to explore and expand new markets."
All programs are administered by the Foreign Agricultural Service. Qualifying applications received by 5 p.m. EDT Time, June 11, will be considered.
Details on the application procedures for these programs can be found at www.fas.usda.gov/mos/marketdev.asp.