Market Development Programs


Foreign Market Development


The Foreign Market Development Program (FMD), also known as the Cooperator Program, uses funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) to "….help develop new markets for U.S. agricultural commodities on a mutually beneficial basis" by aiding in the creation, expansion, and maintenance of long-term export markets for U.S. agricultural products. First established by Congress in 1954 under the authority of Public Law 480, the FMD Program was re-authorized by Title VII of the Agricultural Trade Act of 1978, and is administrated by the USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS).


For over 60 years, the program has fostered a trade promotion partnership between USDA and U.S. agricultural producers and processors, who are represented by nonprofit commodity or trade associations called Cooperators. Under this partnership, USDA and the Cooperators pool their technical and financial resources to conduct overseas market development activities. Activities must contribute to the maintenance or growth of demand for the agricultural commodities and generally address long-term foreign import constraints and export growth opportunities.


How the program benefits U.S. agriculture: The Cooperator program benefits U.S. farmers, processors, and exporters by assisting their organizations in developing new foreign markets and increasing market share in existing markets. Overseas development focuses on generic U.S. commodities, rather than individual brand-name products, and is targeted toward long-term development.  In FY2013, agricultural exports reached $141 billion, generating more American jobs, including many off-farm activities like transportation, food processing, packaging, storing, and financing.


The Cooperator program has helped support growth in U.S. agricultural exports by enlisting private sector involvement and resources in coordinated efforts to promote U.S. products to foreign importers and consumers around the world.


How the program works: Under the FMD Program, CCC funds are used to partially reimburse Cooperators conducting approved overseas development activities. Preference is given to nonprofit U.S. agricultural and trade groups that represent an entire industry or are nationwide in membership and scope.


Each year USDA announces an application period for participation in the FMD Program and publishes it in the Federal Register. Proposals for the FMD are developed by industry organizations and may be submitted to USDA as part of the Unified Export Strategy (UES) process that allows applicants to request funding from various USDA market development programs through a single strategically coordinated proposal.  FMD regulations (7 CFR 1484), revised on February 25, 2000, define program requirements, including cost-sharing, strategic planning, reimbursement procedures, records and reporting requirements, and evaluations.


The FMD applications undergo a competitive review process based on criteria specified in the Federal Register announcement. Funds are awarded to those applicants that demonstrate effective performance based on a clear, long-term strategic plan. Upon approval, CCC enters into a cooperative agreement with each approved applicant. All Cooperators must keep an itemized list of expenses incurred during the program year and submit them to FAS for reimbursement. All expenses are subject to audits and Cooperators are held accountable for maintaining proper documentation for the program.


Market Access Program


The Market Access Program (MAP) uses funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) to aid in the creation, expansion, and maintenance of foreign markets for U.S. agricultural products.  MAP is authorized by Section 203 of the Agricultural Trade Act of 1978, and is administered by the USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS).

The MAP Program benefits U.S. farmers, processors and exporters by forming a partnership between non-profit U.S. agricultural trade associations, farmer cooperatives, non-profit state-regional trade groups, small businesses, and USDA's Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) to share the costs of overseas marketing and promotional activities such as consumer promotions, market research, trade servicing, technical support, trade policy support, trade shows and consumer promotions.  Overseas efforts focus on both generic and branded U.S. products.

MAP is one of the few tools U.S. agriculture has to compete in the international marketplace, and is even more important today as our competitors continue to use their considerable financial resources to gain market share.


How the program benefits U.S. agriculture:  Each year, MAP helps launch and expand sales of U.S. agricultural, fish, and forestry products overseas.  Rural American farmers and ranchers, as the primary suppliers of commodities, benefit from MAP.  All regions of the country profit from the program's employment and economic effects from expanded agricultural export markets.  In FY2014, agricultural exports reached $152.5 billion, generating more American jobs, including many off-farm activities like transportation, food processing, packaging, storing, and financing.


As cited in Global Insight Inc.'s 2006 study: A Cost Benefit Analysis of USDA's International Market Development Programs:


Market development improves producers' income statement and balance sheets while reducing direct government payments.  The income statement is improved by the price and output effect that higher exports have on cash receipts and farm net cash income.  Annual cash receipts have increased $2.2 billion during the 2002 Farm Bill due to the additional exports from market development, with roughly half of this gain coming from higher farm prices and the other half coming from increases in production.  Higher cash receipts increased annual farm net cash income by $460 million, representing a $4 increase in farm income for every additional $1 increase in government spending on market development.  This means market development is an efficient means of farm income support relative to direct government payments.  Speaking of government payments, it is interesting to note that higher farm prices resulting from market development reduced annual direct payments by $180 million.  This is greater than the increase in government spending on market development mandated in the 2002 Farm Bill, meaning the marginal net cost of the programs was actually negative.


Likewise, producers' balance sheet benefits from market development.  The value of farm assets increased by $15 billion, largely due to increases in land values brought about by the higher farm activity and net returns generated from market development's export effects.


How the program works:  MAP uses funds from the USDA's Commodity Credit Corporation to partially reimburse program participants for foreign market development and promotion activities.  Beginning with implementation of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (FSRIA), funding for the MAP program rose incrementally from $100 million in FY 2002 to $200 million by FY 2006.  For funding in excess of $90 million: (1) past program participants, as well as new participants, received equal consideration for projects; and (2) proposals for activities in emerging markets, as well as all other markets, were given equal consideration.


As with the FMD Program, the MAP program has helped support growth in U.S. agricultural exports by enlisting private sector involvement and resources in coordinated efforts to promote U.S. products to foreign importers and consumers around the world.  


Each year, USDA publishes in the Federal Register an announcement of the application period for participation in MAP. Industry organizations and small businesses through the state regional trade groups develop MAP proposals and submit them to USDA as part of the Unified Export Strategy (UES) process that allows applicants to request funding from various USDA market development programs through a single strategically coordinated proposal.  MAP is governed by regulations (7 CFR 1485) that define program requirements, including cost-sharing, strategic planning, reimbursement procedures, records and reporting requirements and evaluations.


The MAP applications undergo a competitive review process based on criteria specified in the Federal Register announcement. Funds are awarded to applicants that demonstrate effective performance based on a clear, long-term strategic plan.  FAS sets a program funding level and signs a program agreement with each participant.  Participants in generic promotion activities must meet a minimum ten percent match requirement but historically have exceeded that by many factors as noted above. Participants are required to certify that these federal program funds supplement -- and do not replace -- private sector funds.  Participants must keep an itemized list of expenses incurred during the program year and submit them to FAS for reimbursement. Expenses are subject to audits and participants are held accountable for maintaining proper documentation.


Agricultural cooperatives and small businesses can receive assistance under the branded program. To conduct branded product promotion activities, individual companies must provide at least 50 percent of the funding.  MAP regulations limit the promotion of branded products in a single country to no more than five years.


  • What commodities are covered: USDA has approved MAP proposals to promote a wide variety of U.S. commodities in almost every region of the world. Among those U.S. food and fiber products are almonds, apples, asparagus, beer, catfish, cherries, citrus, cotton, cranberries, dairy products, dry beans, eggs, feed grains, figs, frozen potatoes, ginseng, grapes, hops, kiwifruit, leather, meat, papaya, peaches, peanuts, pears, pecans, pet food, pistachios, pork, poultry meat, prunes, raisins, rice, salmon, seeds, sheep, soybeans, strawberries, sunflower seeds, tomato products, walnuts, watermelon, wheat, wine and wood.



Emerging Markets Program


The Emerging Markets Program is a market access program that provides funding for technical assistance activities intended to promote exports of U.S. agricultural commodities and products to emerging markets in all geographic regions, consistent with U.S. foreign policy.  It assists U.S. public and private organizations in improving market opportunities in low- to middle-income countries that offer viable markets for U.S. agricultural commodities and products. The program supports a broad range of generic technical assistance activities that U.S. organizations undertake to improve market access and to promote, enhance, or sustain U.S. agricultural exports in these emerging markets.


The Emerging Markets Program is authorized by the Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990 (FACT Act), as amended by the Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996 (FAIR Act) and the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002.  In 2013, the EMP program spent $9,244,873 of the available $9.5 million (after sequestration).  Available funding for FY2015 is $10 million.


The Emerging Markets Program is a generic program.  Its resources may be used to support exports of U.S. agricultural commodities and products only through generic activities.  Projects that endorse or promote branded products are not eligible for the Program.


Funding is provided through three channels:  (1) the Central Fund, the principle means of funding, made available through a public announcement in the Federal Register; (2) the Technical Issues Resolution Fund, to address technical barriers to exports; and (3) the Quick Response Marketing Fund, to assist in resolving short-term time-sensitive market access issues.  


The program is broad in scope and its overall goals are to "develop, maintain, or expand markets for United States agricultural exports" in emerging markets; to improve the effectiveness of food and agribusiness systems in these countries, which includes efforts to reduce trade barriers; and to increase prospects for U.S. trade and investment in these markets.   In addition, it supports generic promotion and distribution of U.S. agricultural products, trade missions, and research on new markets and sponsors activities that encourage free trade policies.  Funding assistance is provided to U.S. agricultural and agribusiness organizations for these purposes.


What is an Emerging Market? The FAIR Act defines an emerging market as any country that "is taking steps toward a market-oriented economy through the food, agriculture, or rural business sectors of the economy of the country," and "has the potential to provide a viable and significant market for United States commodities or products of United States agricultural commodities."


There is no fixed list of "emerging market" countries. Because funds are limited and the range of emerging markets is worldwide, the EMO uses (in addition to the legal definition above) the following criteria to decide whether a country is considered an emerging market:

1)    Per capita income of less than $12,746 (the current ceiling on upper middle income economies as determined by the World Bank World Development Indicators; October, 2014)

2)    Population greater than 1 million (may encompass regional groupings, such as the islands of the CaribbeanBasin).

Guidance on qualified emerging markets is provided each year in the Program's application announcement.

Program Priorities

The principal purpose of the program is to assist U.S. organizations, public and private, to improve market access by developing, maintaining, or enhancing U.S. exports to low- and middle-income countries which have or are developing market-oriented economies, and which can be viable markets for these products.  The underlying premise is that emerging agricultural markets have distinctive characteristics that benefit from U.S. governmental assistance before the private sector moves to develop these markets through normal trade promotional activities.  The program is intended to support the activities of small- to medium-sized U.S. agricultural and agribusiness firms-- particularly those that may need assistance in obtaining or maintaining access in overseas markets.  All agricultural commodities except tobacco are eligible for consideration.


Cost-share,the funding U.S. private organizations are willing to commit from their own resources to seek export business in an emerging market, is one of the requirements needed in an application in order to qualify for funding assistance under the Emerging Markets Program.  A market analysis and justification for federal funding is also required.


Types of Projects and Activities:

Funding is on a project-by-project basis.  Many types of technical assistance activities that promote markets for U.S. agricultural products may be eligible for funding.  Examples include feasibility studies, market research, sectorial assessments, orientation visits, specialized training, and business workshops.  The program is not intended for projects targeted at end-user consumers.  Ineligible activities include in-store promotions; restaurant promotions; branded product promotions (including labeling and supplementing normal company sales activities designed to increase awareness and stimulate sales of branded products); equipment purchases; costs of new product development; administrative and operational expenses for trade shows; advertising; preparation and printing of brochures, flyers, posters, etc., except in connection with specific technical assistance activities such as training seminars; and design of development of Internet Web sites.


The program complements other FAS marketing programs. Once a market access issue has been addressed by the Emerging Markets Program, further market development activities may be considered under other FAS programs.


Eligible Organizations:

Any U. S. agricultural or agribusiness organization, university, state department of agriculture, or USDA agency (or other federal agency involved in agricultural issues) is eligible to participate in the Emerging Markets Program. Preference will be given to proposals indicating significant support and involvement by private industry. Proposals will be considered from research and consulting organizations only as long as they can demonstrate evidence of substantial participation by U.S. industry.  For-profit entities are also eligible, but may not use program funds to conduct private business, promote private self-interests, supplement the costs of normal sales activities, or promote their own products or services beyond specific uses approved for a given project.  USDA market development cooperators may seek funding to address priority, market-specific issues or to undertake activities not already serviced by or unsuitable for funding under other FAS marketing programs, such as the Foreign Market Development Program and Market Access Program.


The opportunity for applying to the Emerging Markets Program during the annual open solicitation period, usually winter to early spring, is announced in the Federal Register and on the FAS Internet Web site.


Advisory Committee on Emerging Markets

A private sector advisory committee provides information and advice to help USDA develop strategies for providing technical assistance and enhancing markets for U.S. agricultural products in developing market economies. More specifically, Committee members review from a business perspective qualified proposals submitted to the Program for funding assistance.  The Secretary of Agriculture appoints members to the committee for two-year terms.


Quality Samples Program


The Quality Samples Program (QSP) was established in 1999 to help U.S. agricultural trade organizations provide samples of U.S. agricultural products to potential importers in foreign markets.  The QSP is used to fund projects that broadly benefit agricultural industries rather than individual exporters.  Focusing on industry and manufacturing, as opposed to end-use consumers, it permits potential customers to discover U.S. quality.  QSP stimulates interest in U.S. products by giving foreign buyers the means to do test runs to assess how U.S. food and fiber products can best meet their production needs.   It also allows manufacturers insights by providing technical demonstrations on the proper use or further processing of the products.  In 2013, 18 trade associations and state agricultural organizations funded 64 projects and received funding allocations totaling $2,214,853.00.  FY2015 funding is $2.5 million.


How the program benefits U.S. agriculture: QSP stimulates interest and demand for U.S. agricultural products.  The better opportunities for agricultural exports ripple throughout the U.S. economy.  In FY2014, agricultural exports reached $152.5 billion, generating more American jobs, including many off-farm activities like transportation, food processing, packaging, storing, and financing.


How the program works:  Each year, USDA announces an application period for participation in the QSP, publishing it in the Federal Register. Trade organizations and private firms can submit QSP proposals to USDA as part of the Unified Export Strategy (UES).


QSP applications undergo a competitive review process based on criteria specified in the Federal Register announcement. Participants who are approved for QSP funding assemble commodity samples, export them and provide the importer with the technical assistance necessary to use the sample properly. When a project is finished, USDA reimburses the participants for the costs of procuring and exporting the samples.  QSP does not cover the technical assistance component.


Individual projects will be limited to $75,000 of QSP reimbursement.  Projects comprised of technical preparation seminars, that is, projects that do not include further processing or substantial transformation, will be limited to $15,000 of QSP reimbursement as these projects require smaller samples


What commodities are covered: USDA has approved QSP proposals to promote a wide variety of U.S. commodities, including wheat, citrus, cranberries, mohair, hides, rice, and soybeans. Many other commodities are eligible as well.


Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops


The Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops (TASC) program was established by the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 and authorized the use of $2 million of Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) resources in each fiscal year from 2002 through 2007.  The 2008 Farm Bill increased that total level of support for 2011 and 2012 to $9 million; the 2014 Farm Bill maintains the total level of support at $9 million.


How the program benefits U.S. agriculture:  The TASC works to open, retain and expand markets for U.S. specialty crops. Resources are provided to assist U.S. organizations by providing funding for projects that address sanitary, phytosanitary and technical barriers to trade (this last is a revision in the 2014 Farm Bill) that prohibit or threaten the export of U.S. specialty crops. For purposes of the TASC program, a "specialty crop" is defined as all cultivated plants and the products, thereof, produced in the United States, except wheat, feed grains, oilseeds, cotton, rice, peanuts, sugar and tobacco. Examples of activities these grants may cover include seminars and workshops, study tours, field surveys, pest and disease research, and pre-clearance programs.


How the program works: TASC proposals are accepted from any U.S. organization, including, but not limited to: U.S. government agencies, state government agencies, non-profit trade associations, universities, agricultural cooperatives and private companies. The Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), which administers the program, provides grant funds as direct assistance to U.S. organizations. Applicant contributions are not required, but strongly encouraged.


Each year, USDA announces an application period for participation in TASC, publishing it in the Federal Register. TASC applications undergo a competitive review process based on criteria specified in 7 FCR, part 1487, and in the Federal Register announcement. Funds are awarded to applicants that demonstrate how their project will overcome trade barriers resulting in market access retention and expansion for specialty crops. Award maximums are $500,000 per year, and for activities of up to five years. Proposals may target any eligible export market, including single countries or reasonable regional groupings of countries. Applicants may submit multiple proposals, but no TASC participant may have more than five projects underway at any given time. FAS sets a program funding level for each approved application and signs a program agreement with the participant. Funds may be requested as advance payments or on a reimbursement basis. Participants are required to maintain records and documents associated with the program agreement. All projects are subject to review by U.S. government officials.



Cochran Fellowship Program


The Cochran Fellowship Program (CFP) is administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS). It provides U.S.-based agricultural training opportunities for public and private sector senior and mid-level specialists and administrators who are concerned with agricultural trade, agribusiness development, management, policy, and marketing.

Since its inception in 1984, the program has provided U.S.-based training for over 14,300 international participants from 123 countries worldwide.

Country Eligibility:   To be eligible, a country may be classified as middle-income, an emerging democracy, or an emerging market. In any case, the country's principal agricultural exports must not compete significantly with U.S. agricultural commodities and products in international trade.


Training Focus:  Each program reflects a philosophy that training should provide participants with sound technical knowledge and the opportunity to test and practice new skills in practical situations. Therefore, most programs offer a mixture of technical instruction, practical field observations, and "hands-on" experience. Programs are specially designed in accordance with the training objectives discussed during interviews with candidates and the recommendations of the respective FAS foreign agricultural affairs officer.


Commercial Export Credit Guarantee Program

The Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC), U.S. Department of Agriculture, administers export credit guarantees for commercial financing of U.S. agricultural exports. These USDA Commodity CCC programs encourage exports to buyers in countries where credit is necessary to maintain or increase U.S. sales, but where financing may not be available without CCC guarantees.


GSM-102: The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Export Credit Guarantee Program (GSM-102) provides credit guarantees to encourage financing of commercial exports of U.S. agricultural commodities. By reducing financial risk to lenders, credit guarantees encourage exports to importers in countries-mainly developing countries-that have sufficient financial strength to have foreign exchange available for scheduled payments.


The GSM-102 program guarantees credit extended by the private financial sector in the United States (or, less commonly, by the U.S. exporter) to approved foreign financial institutions using dollar-denominated, irrevocable letters of credit for purchases of U.S. food and agricultural products by foreign importers. USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) administers the program on behalf of the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC), which issues the credit guarantees. GSM-102 covers credit terms of up to 18 months; maximum terms may vary by country.  


CCC guarantees payments due from approved foreign financial institutions to exporters or financial institutions in the United States. However, the financing must be obtained through normal commercial sources. Typically, 98 percent of principal and a portion of interest are covered by a guarantee. Any follow-on credit arrangements between the foreign financial institution and the importer are negotiated separately and are not covered by the CCC guarantee. The FAS website provides information on specific country and commodity allocations and other program information and requirements.


Eligible Countries or Regions: Interested parties, including U.S. exporters, foreign importers, and financial institutions, may request that the CCC establish a GSM-102 program for a country or region. Prior to announcing the availability of guarantees, the CCC evaluates the ability of each country and foreign financial institution to service CCC-guaranteed debt. New financial institutions may be added, or levels of approval for others increased or decreased, as information becomes available.


Eligible Commodities: The CCC selects agricultural commodities and products according to market potential and eligibility based on applicable legislative and regulatory requirements.


Participation:   CCC must qualify exporters for participation before accepting guarantee applications. Financial institutions must meet established criteria and be approved by CCC. CCC sets limits and advises each approved foreign financial institution on the maximum amount CCC will guarantee for that bank.  Requirements for exporter and U.S. and foreign financial institution participation are available in the program regulation and on the FAS website.


Once approved to participate, the exporter negotiates terms of the export sale with the importer. Once a firm export sale exists, the qualified U.S. exporter must apply for a payment guarantee before the date of export. The exporter pays a fee calculated on the dollar amount guaranteed. Fee rates are currently based on the country risk that CCC is undertaking, including country-specific macroeconomic variables; risk of the foreign obligor (bank); the repayment term (tenor); and repayment frequency under the guarantee.  


Financing: The CCC-approved foreign financial institution issues a dollar-denominated, irrevocable letter of credit in favor of the U.S. exporter, ordinarily advised or confirmed by the financial institution in the United States agreeing to extend credit to the foreign financial institution. The U.S. exporter may negotiate an arrangement to be paid as exports occur by assigning to an approved U.S. financial institution the right to proceeds that may become payable under the CCC's guarantee.  The exporter is required to provide a report of export to CCC for each shipment that occurs under the payment guarantee.  If the exporter has assigned the payment guarantee to a U.S. financial institution, the exporter would provide these export reports and other transaction-related documents required by the U.S. financial institution.


Defaults/Claims:  If the foreign financial institution fails to make any payment covered by the GSM-102 guarantee, the holder of the payment guarantee must submit a notice of default to CCC within the timeframe required by the program regulations. A claim for default also may be filed within the required timeframe, and CCC will pay claims found to be in good order.  


For CCC audit purposes, the U.S. exporter must obtain documentation to show that the commodity arrived in the eligible country or region, and the exporter and the assignee must maintain all transaction documents for five years from the date of completion of all payments.



Complementary Market Programs




Trade capacity-building (TCB), or trade-related technical assistance, supports U.S. trade policy objectives by enhancing developing countries' ability to trade. TCB activities strengthen other countries' agricultural institutions and regulatory systems, encourage compliance with international norms, and foster adoption of U.S. approaches to agricultural policy and regulatory procedures. TCB supports the President's National Security Strategy by promoting free trade and open markets as a way to spread economic prosperity.

FAS focus is to:

  • help developing countries meet their World Trade Organization (WTO) obligations and strengthen their policy - especially on sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures;
  • provide training and technical assistance in food safety to SPS standards to international standards-setting bodies. This helps developing countries with guidelines, international obligations, and put institutional systems in place;
  • help with infrastructure development, including information systems, agricultural standards, cold chain practices, and capacity to purchase U.S. agricultural products;
  • provide training to improve grades and standards for fruits, vegetables, and bulk commodities, and technical assistance in cold chain processes to preserve the safety and quality of perishable products.

Technical Assistance

FAS manages USDA technical assistance, training and cooperative programs with other nations to help build stable economies and a more prosperous world. Emphasized are government-to-government institutional development, with the goal of achieving sustainable agricultural production, mutual economic growth, conservation of natural resources, and a protected environment. FAS' approach is to utilize all pertinent capabilities of USDA's 19 technical and program agencies in its overseas work, as well as the expertise of Land-Grant Universities throughout the United States. Projects span a wide variety of agricultural sectors and disciplines, reflect the types of programs carried out by USDA services and agencies, and operate in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Latin America and the Caribbean, Eastern Europe, and the Former Soviet Union.

FAS negotiates and coordinates working agreements between USDA agencies and institutions interested in enlisting USDA assistance in international development projects. Since the Department receives no appropriated funding for foreign assistance, USDA project services are provided on a cost-reimbursable basis to donors and cooperating countries. Assistance is furnished on either long- or short-term assignments.

Food Aid

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) helps provide U.S. agricultural commodities to assist millions of people in needy countries through direct donations and concessional programs.

The U.S. government can provide food assistance through five program authorities: the Food for Progress Program, the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program, the Local and Regional Procurement Project, the Food for Peace Act (formerly referred to as Public Law 480, Titles I, II, and III), Section 416(b) and the Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust.  The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) administers Titles II and III of the Food for Peace Act. USDA administers the remaining food aid programs. Both USDA and USAID facilitate the administration of the Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust.


TheFood for Progress (FFP) program, authorized by the Food for Progress Act of 1985, provides for the donation or credit sale of U.S. commodities to developing countries and emerging democracies committed to introducing and expanding free enterprise in the agricultural sector.  In most cases, commodities are monetized to support agricultural projects that increase rural incomes and enhance food security by improving agricultural productivity, supporting agribusiness development, and expanding availability of financial services.

The McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Chile Nutrition (McGovern-Dole) helps support education, child development, and food security for some of the world's poorest children. It provides for donations of U.S. agricultural products, as well as financial and technical assistance, for school feeding and maternal and child nutrition projects in low-income, food-deficit countries that are committed to universal education.

Currently, both USDA and USAID have authority to purchase local and regional food aid.  The Local and Regional Procurement Project (Pilot Program)was a five-year, $60 million pilot authorized by the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 (the Farm Bill). The pilot program was designed to evaluate the timeliness, cost and market impact of purchasing food aid locally or regionally - rather than shipping aid from the United States - to respond to natural disasters and other food crises in developing countries. The program was implemented by the Secretary of Agriculture from fiscal year (FY) 2009 through 2012.

The Food for Peace Act (FPA) was formerly referred to as Public Law 480 or P.L. 480. FPA has three titles, and each title has a specific objective and provides assistance to countries at a particular level of economic development. Title I is administered by USDA, and Titles II and III are administered by USAID. Title I, Trade and Development Assistance, provides for government-to-government sales of U.S. agricultural commodities to developing countries on credit or grant terms.

The Section 416(b)program is authorized by the Agricultural Act of 1949, as amended. This program provides for overseas donations of surplus commodities acquired by the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC). Donations may not reduce the amounts of commodities that are traditionally donated to U.S. domestic feeding programs or agencies, and may not disrupt normal commercial sales.

The Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trustis another resource to ensure that the U.S. government can respond to emergency food aid needs. The Trust is not a food aid program, but a food reserve administered under the authority of the Secretary of Agriculture.  When a food crisis arises and food aid is not available from other U.S. government programs, the Secretary of Agriculture may authorize the release of funds from the trust in order to quickly meet immediate needs. Cash in the trust provides the U.S. government with the flexibility to purchase appropriate U.S. commodities based on availability and specific needs.



Agricultural Trade and Investment

USDA promotes agricultural trade and investment through an array of technical assistance activities in emerging markets.

Through the engagement of both the private and public sectors, these trade and investment programs work to reduce institutional and technical barriers to trade, support the development of trade policies and regulations consistent with the World Trade Organization, improve marketing infrastructure, and nurture the development of agribusiness linkages and networks.

Such trade and investment promotion is achieved through short- and medium-term technical assistance training programs.

International Cooperation

FAS protects and advances U.S. agricultural interests by keeping U.S. policy views before the international community. In order to do this, staff:

  • Assist the Secretary of Agriculture and others in maintaining liaison with international organizations to help shape their programs and keep U.S. agricultural interests in the forefront of discussions as these organizations develop their international policies;
  • Manage and coordinates the development of USDA policy and position papers on food, agriculture, and rural development issues under consideration by international organizations;
  • Work with the Department of State, the Agency for International Development, the Environmental Protection Agency, and others to ensure that USDA interests are represented when official U.S. Government positions are developed;
  • Identify and recommend to the Department of State staff for U.S. delegations to represent and protect USDA agencies' interests at international and domestic meetings of international organizations;
  • Recruit and facilitate placement of U.S. personnel for staffs of relevant international organizations, and promotes increased use of Americans as consultants; and
  • Lead and coordinate liaison activities with multilateral development banks, the Agency for International Development, U.S. universities, and/or other U.S. and international organizations to facilitate cooperation on international food, science, and technology issues.

Scientific Collaboration


FAS promotes international cooperation on sustainable agricultural and forestry systems to help secure a safe and adequate food supply. FAS supports cooperation between American and foreign researchers through activities directed at potential threats to U.S. agriculture and forestry, development of new technologies, and enhancement of agribusiness and trade in foreign markets. Participating countries benefit through a variety of activities including both short and long-term visits of U.S. and foreign scientists, collaborative research projects and technical workshops.

With U.S. and international funding, FAS develops and implements projects as well as establishes links for the network of agricultural experts in USDA, other federal agencies, the university system and private sector organizations. FAS also provides technical support to design and facilitate project implementation from the development stage through final evaluation.


The Norman E. Borlaug International Agricultural Science

and Technology Fellows Program

This program helps developing countries strengthen sustainable agricultural practices by providing short-term scientific training and collaborative research opportunities to visiting researchers, policymakers and university faculty while they work with a mentor. The program targets developing countries and places participants at land-grant universities and 1890's colleges, government agencies, international research centers and other nonprofit institutions and private companies.  The Borlaug Fellowship Program has provided over 500 fellowships for agricultural professionals from 64 developing countries worldwide.

The Borlaug Fellowship Program was launched in March 2004 in honor of Dr. Norman E. Borlaug, who has often been hailed as the father of the Green Revolution. In 2006, Dr. Borlaug received the Congressional Gold Medal of Honor, the highest civilian award, for his lifetime contributions to improving international agriculture and global food security.

Dr. Borlaug won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 for his success in developing high-yielding wheat varieties and reversing severe food shortages that haunted India and Pakistan in the 1960's. Credited with saving millions of lives, his work virtually eliminated recurring famines in South Asia and helped global food production outpace population growth.

The Borlaug Fellowship Program provides 6 - 12 week collaborative research and training programs for entry to mid-level international agricultural scientists, university faculty and policymakers from select developing and middle income countries.  Fellows are matched with mentors who coordinate formal training at U.S. land grant universities, USDA and other government agencies, international agricultural research centers, private companies, and/or not-for-profit institutions.  Upon conclusion of the Fellow's program, the mentor visits the Fellows in their home countries to further strengthen the collaborative research and training efforts.  

Although open to participants worldwide, the program focuses on African, South Central American, Central European, and Asian nations. The program is administered by USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service in cooperation with the U.S. Agency for International Development, the U.S. Department of State, and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency.

Food Security

People have "food security" when they have both physical and economic access to enough food to lead a healthy and active life.  Food security depends on three elements: adequate food availability through agricultural production, imports, and government policies; conditions that give people access to food in stores, farmers' markets, and other outlets; and full utilization of food through adequate, balanced diet, safe water, sanitation, education, and health care.

Ensuring international food security in the next two decades will be largely dependent on policy reform in foreign nations. The plan calls for the United States to encourage an enabling environment in foreign countries and to enhance coordination of its foreign assistance with other donor nations; promote freer trade to enhance global access to food; improve research capacity and enhance human capacity, particularly through education of girls and women; target more food aid to the most needy and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of food aid programs; and support the work of the Codex Alimentarius Commission in setting international food safety standards.