Funds available for food export promotion

BISMARCK – Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring says the recent surge in North Dakota exports should encourage more food processing and commodity companies in the state to begin or expand overseas sales.

“This year saw a near 24 percent increase in second quarter exports over 2011,” Goehring said. “The North Dakota Department of Agriculture (NDDA) offers a range of programs and services to help companies develop the knowledge, tools and expertise to take advantage of these rapidly expanding, overseas markets.”

Goehring pointed to the 2012 Branded Program, sponsored by NDDA and Food Export – Midwest, as an example of programs designed to foster foreign exports.

“The Branded Program helps small companies promote their brand name food and agricultural products in foreign markets,” Goehring said. “Participating companies can be reimbursed for up to 50 percent of eligible marketing and promotional efforts such as trade shows, advertising, public relations, in-store promos, product demonstrations, product literature, freight cost for samples, and package and label modification. This is a significant opportunity for North Dakota food and value-added agriculture companies to reach more overseas customers.”

Goehring said applications for the Branded Program are now being taken. Questions about pre-qualification, marketing plans, eligible reimbursements and the application process can be directed to Stephanie Sinner, NDDA marketing specialist, at (701) 239-7211 or ssinner@nd.gov, or to Food Export – Midwest at (312) 334-9200. More information and a pre-qualification worksheet are available at http://www.brandedprogram.org/. The application deadline is Oct. 31 for 2013 export activities.

Participants must be small companies (by federal standards) or agricultural producer cooperatives with corporate offices, production facilities or significant products originating from the Midwest. They must be registered business entities with a brand name. Qualifying products must contain at least 50 percent U.S. agricultural materials or ingredients, excluding water and packaging.

The Food Export Association of the Midwest USA is a private, non-profit association of 12 midwestern state agricultural promotion agencies that use federal, state, and industry resources to promote the export of food and agricultural products. Funding for the Branded Program is provided by the USDA Foreign Agriculture Service.