California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross is encouraging companies to participate in agricultural export development and training programs.  These export assistance programs aid companies in entering foreign markets and financing overseas promotional activities, as well as expanding commercial export markets for U.S. agricultural products.

“California has a significant role in the world economy — providing a wide variety of food and agricultural products to foreign markets which helps to meet global food demands,” said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross. “I encourage companies to access these important programs to assist in developing export markets for their products.”

Opportunities for California agriculture exporters include:

  • 2012 Branded Program

The Western United States Agricultural Trade Association (WUSATA) has announced the availability of applications for the 2012 Branded Program. This cost-share program provides eligible companies up to 50 percent reimbursement on international marketing costs – supporting small businesses in creating, expanding and maintaining foreign markets for U.S. agricultural products. This program is funded by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Market Access Program and companies are encouraged to apply before November 1, 2011.  An online application and further information regarding the program is available at www.wusata.org.

  • California Agricultural Export Training Certificate

The Fresno Center for International Trade Development is providing a California Agricultural Export Training Certificate Program for California specialty crop companies. The program is a series of six classes over three months that focus on several aspects of exporting food and agricultural products. This training program is designed to meet the educational needs of agricultural companies seeking to export their products worldwide. Classes are scheduled to begin in March 2012 and companies can register for the program at www.fresnocitd.org/calagx.

In 2009, California exported $12.4 billion in agricultural products to more than 150 countries. Leading export products included almonds, rice, wine, pistachios and walnuts. The top destinations for California agricultural products included Canada, the European Union, Japan, China/Hong Kong and Mexico. On average, California farmers and ranchers export 22 percent of the products that they produce.