USDA announces changes to Market Access Program

By Agri-Pulse staff

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WASHINGTON, May 24, 2012-USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) announced changes to the regulations governing the Market Access Program (MAP), which the service said will streamline and improve the program's delivery.

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The FAS announcement states that the changes “will clarify and streamline program requirements in areas ranging from application procedures to project evaluations. The changes to MAP complement many other improvements made across USDA as part of the Blueprint for Stronger Service.”

MAP helps U.S. producers, exporters, private companies and non-profit trade organizations finance activities to market and promote U.S. agricultural commodities and products internationally, according to USDA. When MAP funds are used for generic marketing and promotion activities, participants must contribute a minimum 10-percent match for MAP funds. For branded promotions, a dollar-for-dollar match is required. In developing the revised regulations, FAS reviewed nearly 1,300 public comments submitted in response to a proposed rule issued September 8, 2009.

“These changes will help us improve access to MAP and, as a result, enhance the ability of U.S. businesses to sell high-quality American-made agricultural goods to consumers around the world," said FAS Administrator Suzanne Heinen.

Changes made to MAP include:

  • Streamlining application and planning requirements under FAS' Unified Export Strategy;
  • Specifying the types of activities eligible for reimbursement under the program;
  • Documenting operational procedures for MAP projects promoting branded products;
  • Requiring program participants to establish fraud prevention programs;
  • Revising processes for evaluation, contracting, compliance review and appeals.
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