Last updated on September 11th, 2012 at 03:54 pm
Applications will be accepted through Southern United States Trade Association (SUSTA) for funding assistance to help companies promote their food and agriculture products internationally. SUSTA is accepting applications for the upcoming year starting today.
SUSTA, through the federal Market Access Program (MAP), reimburses companies up to 50 percent of their export promotional costs—such as product advertising in foreign markets, exhibiting at international trade shows and adapting their product labels for foreign laws—to help them become competitive in global markets. Hundreds of companies that take advantage of this program each year see direct benefits to their bottom line. Last year, companies enrolled in SUSTA’s programs exported more than $41 million in American food and agriculture thanks to the funding and assistance.
“Demand for American food and agriculture is rising sharply around the world, particularly among growing middle classes that recognize our products for their quality and safety,” said SUSTA’s Executive Director Jerry Hingle. “We’re here to help American businesses take advantage of this trend by giving them the resources and guidance they need to market their products internationally. We’re always thrilled to see small businesses tap new export markets that otherwise are unreachable without the assistance we offer.”
The MAP is administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), and SUSTA directs MAP funds to small- and medium-sized companies based in the Southern U.S.
“Funding is limited, so we encourage companies that want to take advantage of this program over the coming year to get their applications in early,” said Deputy Director Bernadette Wiltz. “The process is very easy, and we gladly walk applicants through it all. However, it’s important to get started early to make sure you don’t miss out, even if you’re just starting to think about exporting,” she said.
To be eligible for the MAP branded program, companies must be considered small according to U.S. Small Business Administration standards, have yearly sales of at least $100,000 and promote a brand-name product that is of at least 50 percent U.S. agricultural origin. Companies located in any of SUSTA’s member states can apply for funding. Those states are Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.
Companies applying for MAP branded funds can get started by completing a pre-qualification form on SUSTA’s website at www.susta.org. Additional information is available from these states’ Department of Agriculture or by calling SUSTA at 504-568-5986.