Technical Assistance For Specialty Crops Program
FOREIGN AGRICULTURAL SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
The Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops Program is authorized by Section 3205 of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002, Public Law 107- 171.
The Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops Program is designed to assist U.S. organizations by providing funding for projects that address sanitary, phytosanitary, and technical barriers that prohibit or threaten the export of U.S. specialty crops.
Types of Assistance
Direct Payments for Specified Use.
Uses and Use Restrictions
Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops Program funds are authorized through project agreements that include the maximum amount that may be reimbursed and identify terms and conditions pursuant to which the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) will reimburse costs. The agreements also outline any specific responsibilities of the participant. Types of activities that may be funded under this program include initial pre-clearance programs, export protocol and work plan support, seminars and workshops, study tours, field surveys, development of pest lists, pest and disease research, database development, reasonable logistical and administrative support, travel and per diem expenses.
To be approved, an applicant must be a: (1) U.S. government agency; (2) U.S. State government agency; (3) U.S. non-profit trade association; (4) U.S. university; (5) U.S. agricultural cooperative; (6) U.S. private company or (7) any other U.S. organization.
The Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops Program is intended to benefit the 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 brief discussion of the commodity for which funding is requested; a market assessment, including a description of the specific export barrier to be addressed; a description of the activities planned to address the export barrier; and export information that includes performance measures, benchmark performance, and the viability of long-term sales to the market. 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 publicly announced in a Federal Register notice. Following the announcement, applications for funding may be submitted to the Director, Marketing Operations Staff, Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS).
Proposals are reviewed against the allocation criteria and factors specified in 7 CFR 1487. The 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.
The application deadline is stated 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 the project and a provision for project evaluation. Funds awarded in any given fiscal year are typically available for additional years.
Post Assistance Requirements
Claims are submitted to receive reimbursement of approved expenditures associated with completing program projects. Evaluation reports are submitted by the participant within six months of completion of an approved project.
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 by authorized officials of the U.S. government upon request.
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 in an account or record that took place, whichever is sooner.
(Direct Payments) FY 07 $2,000,000; 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 $250,000 per year.
Regulations, Guidelines and Literature
7 CFR 1487.
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
Pre-clearance program for apples exported to Mexico.
Criteria for Selecting Proposals
The FAS will consider the following criteria in evaluating proposals: (1) The identification and nature of the specific export barrier and the extent to which the proposal is likely to successfully remove, resolve, or mitigate that barrier; (2) The potential trade impact of the proposed project on market retention, market access, and market expansion, including the potential for expanding commercial sales in the targeted market; (3) The completeness and viability of the proposal; (4) The applicant organization's ability to provide an experienced staff with the technical and trade experience necessary to economically and effectively execute the proposal; (5) The extent to which the proposal is targeted to an eligible export market in which the United States is generally competitive; (6) The cost of the project and the amount of other (non-TASC) resources specifically dedicated to the project, including cash and goods and services of the U.S. industry and foreign third parties; (7) The degree to which time is essential in addressing the specific export barriers; and, (8) In cases where the CCC receives multiple proposals from different applicants which address essentially the same barrier, the nature of the applicant organization will be taken into consideration, with a greater weight given to those organizations with the broadest base of producer representation.