Quality Samples Program
FOREIGN AGRICULTURAL SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
The Quality Samples Program is authorized by Section 5(f) of the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) Charter Act, 15 U.S.C. 714c(f).
The Quality Samples Program is designed to encourage the development and expansion of export markets for U.S. agricultural commodities by assisting U.S. entities in providing commodity samples to potential foreign importers to promote a better understanding and appreciation for the high quality of U.S. agricultural commodities.
Types of Assistance
Direct Payments for Specified Use.
Uses and Use Restrictions
Quality Samples Program funds are authorized through project agreements that include the maximum amount that may be reimbursed and identify terms and conditions pursuant to which CCC will reimburse costs. Under the QSP, participants may be reimbursed for certain costs of purchasing and transporting commodity samples. Although providing technical assistance is required for all projects, costs of providing the actual technical assistance is not reimbursed under the QSP.
To be approved, an applicant must be a U.S. private or government entity.
The Quality Samples Program is intended to benefit a represented U.S. industry rather than a specific company or brand.
Applicants must submit a written proposal which includes, but is not limited to, the following: a description of the organization and its membership; a description of the organization's prior export promotion experience; a description of the organization's experience in implementing an appropriate trade/technical assistance component; an assessment of the market; a long-term strategy in the market; amount of funding requested; a brief description of the specific market development trade constraint or opportunity to be addressed by the project; a sample description; and the importer's role in the project regarding handling and processing the commodity samples. This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular No. A-87.
Application and Award Process
None. This program is excluded from coverage under E.O. 12372 and OMB Circular No. A-102.
Each year the availability of funds is announced in a Federal Register notice. At that time, proposals should be submitted to the Director, Marketing Operations Staff, Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS).
Proposals are reviewed against the allocation criteria and factors specified in the Federal Register notice. CCC notifies each applicant of the final disposition of its application and also issues a public announcement concerning the allocation of resources among the applicant organizations. Each approved applicant receives a program agreement and allocation approval letter that specifies any special terms and conditions applicable to a participant's program. Final agreement occurs when both the participating organization and the Deputy Administrator for Commodity and Marketing Programs, FAS, sign the program agreement.
Application deadline is announced in the form of a Federal Register notice.
Range of Approval/Disapproval Time
Approximately 30-90 days.
Formula and Matching Requirements
Although highly encouraged, financial and in-kind support from the participant is not required. Such contributions may be in the form of cash or goods and services.
Length and Time Phasing of Assistance
Agreements generally include a twelve-month promotional effort and a requirement for program evaluation. Funds awarded in any given fiscal year may be made available for a longer period.
Post Assistance Requirements
Reimbursement claims are submitted to claim reimbursement of costs associated with completing approved projects. Evaluation reports are submitted within 90 days of expiration of the agreement.
Participant projects are reviewed by representatives of the Compliance Review Staff (CRS) of FAS. Audits and reviews may be conducted sporadically by representatives of the Office of the Inspector General and the General Accounting Office. Accounts and records must be available for inspection and audit at any reasonable time.
Records must be maintained for not less than 3 years after completion or termination of the agreement or not more than 5 full calendar years following the year the transaction that is evidenced by such an account or record that took place, whichever is sooner.
(Direct Payments) FY 07 $2,500,000; FY 08 est not available; and FY 09 est not reported.
Range and Average of Financial Assistance
Projects funded on a project by project basis for up to $75,000.
For the 2005 program year, allocations were made to 20 organizations. Example: The U.S. Wheat Associates, through the use of QSP funded technical assistance activities, successfully introduced U.S. Desert Durum into the Venezulen market. As a direct result of the QSP funded programs, Venezuela, who exclusively imported Canadian durum wheat, imported 18,200 tons of U.S. wheat.
Regulations, Guidelines and Literature
Regional or Local Office
Director, Marketing Operations Staff, Foreign Agricultural Service, Department of Agriculture, Washington, DC 20250. Telephone: (202) 720-4327.
Web Site Address
10.600, Foreign Market Development Cooperator Program
10.601, Market Access Program
Examples of Funded Projects
(1) Shipment of samples of peanut flour to China for a technical assistance activity; (2) brown rice sample shipped to Russia that was used to train rice millers to mill U.S. brown rice; and (3) a sample of orange and grapefruit concentrate shipped to China for a processing seminar.
Criteria for Selecting Proposals
FAS uses the following criteria when evaluating QSP proposals: (1) the ability of the organization to provide an experienced staff with the requisite technical and trade experience to execute the proposal; (2) the extent to which the proposal is targeted to a market in which the United States is generally competitive; (3) the potential for expanding commercial sales in the proposed market; (4) the nature of the specific market constraint or opportunity involved and how well it is addressed by the proposal; (5) the extent to which the importer's contribution in terms of handling and processing enhances the potential outcome of the project; (6) the amount of reimbursement requested and the organization's willingness to contribute resources, including cash and goods and services of the U.S. industry and foreign third parties; and (7) and how well the proposed technical assistance component assures that performance trials will effectively demonstrate the intended end-use benefit.