Demand for U.S. food and agricultural products in overseas markets is stronger than ever, and U.S. agricultural exports are expected to reach $95.5 billion in 2009, despite the global downturn. Many small and medium-sized agricultural businesses are turning to exporting as a way to increase sales, but find that marketing their products can be costly. However, the Market Access Program (MAP) Branded offers matching funds to small companies to help relieve some of the budget strain as these firms strive to increase sales in potentially lucrative foreign markets.
MAP Branded provides reimbursement for half the cost of many promotional activities in markets across the globe, including television commercials, in-store promotions, required package and label changes, and other marketing efforts.
The Southern United States Trade Association (SUSTA) provided MAP Branded funding to more than 70 small companies in 2008, with participants reporting $118 million in sales as a result of their promotions. SUSTA is now accepting applications for the 2010 Branded program, so companies may get a head start on planning their overseas promotional activities for next year.
Firms based in the following states may apply for funding through SUSTA: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma,
Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.
MAP Branded is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) and administered to southern U.S. companies by SUSTA. To be eligible for the Branded program, companies must be considered small according to U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) standards, have yearly sales of at least $100,000, and promote a brand-name product that is at least 50% U.S. agricultural origin.
Businesses applying for MAP Branded funds can download the
Pre-Qualification Form on the SUSTA website at
For more information, contact your state’s Department of Agriculture or the SUSTA office at (504)568-5986.