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USDA releases $39 million for 3 overseas trade promotion programs

USDA releases $39 million for 3 overseas trade promotion programs

   The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service said it would release $39 million in 2006 allocations to 56 U.S. trade groups for three programs that promote American-grown agricultural products overseas.

   The allocations will be administered under the Foreign Market Development Cooperator Program, the Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops program, and the Quality Samples Program.

   Under the Foreign Market Development Cooperator Program, USDA establishes a trade promotion partnership with non-profit U.S. agricultural trade groups. Program activities include reducing market barriers, improving overseas import processes, modifying restrictive regulatory codes and standards in other countries, and identifying new markets or uses for U.S. products. Today, the 50-year-old program supports these activities in more than 100 countries.

   The Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops program provides funds to eligible groups to address barriers to exports of U.S. specialty crops. These include all cultivated plants and their products produced in the United States, except for wheat, feed grains, oilseeds, cotton, rice, peanuts, sugar and tobacco.

   The Quality Samples Program funds activities that benefit agricultural industries rather than individual exporters. Recipients are reimbursed for certain costs of buying and transporting commodity samples to provide overseas importers with information about attributes, characteristics and use of U.S. commodities.

   The Foreign Market Development Cooperator Program includes $34.5 million in 2006. The biggest recipients are:

   * American Soybean Association, $7.1 million.

   * U.S. Wheat Associates, $5.7 million.

   * U.S. Grain Council, $5.2 million.

   * Cotton Council International, $3.8 million.

   * American Forest & Paper Association, $3.5 million.

   * U.S. Meat Export Federation, $2.0 million.

   * USA Poultry and Egg Export Council, $1.6 million.

   * USA Rice Federation, $1.5 million.

   The 2006 Technical Assistance for Specialty Crop program includes $2.6 million. The biggest recipients are:

   * Indian River Citrus League, $500,000.

   * Florida Citrus Packers, $498,500.

   * California Citrus Quality Council, $164,710.

   * U.S. Hop Industry Plant Protection Committee, $97,500.

   * California Agricultural Export Council, $97,200.

   The 2006 Quality Samples Program includes $1.8 million. The biggest recipients are:

   * National Potato Promotion Board, $478,000.

   * American Sheep Industry Association, $305,000.

   * Mohair Council of America, $231,000.

   * U.S. Grain Council, $161,000.

   * California Tomato Export Group, $100,000.

   * U.S. Wheat Associates, $90,600.

   “These programs support U.S. producer associations so they can tap into market opportunities,” said U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns in a statement. “Agricultural exports support not only the food and agriculture sectors, but the economy as a whole.”

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