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state regional trade groups

In Conversation with #WomeninAg: Mary Safie

Every month, USDA shares the story of a woman in agriculture who is leading the industry and helping other women succeed along the way. This month, we hear from Mary Safie, owner of Safie Specialty Foods. In 1994, Mary took over her family’s canning business which began in 1929 in her grandfather’s kitchen with food grown on his farm in Chesterfield Township, Michigan. Specializing in pickled vegetables, Safie’s has experienced success domestically and abroad, with assistance from USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service and State Regional Trade Groups.

Exports: Getting Into the Game

Whether you are new to exporting or your company has been in the business for years, USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) and its partners can help you build markets for your products around the globe. FAS offers a variety of services and programs that help U.S. agricultural exporters succeed in the global marketplace. From facilitating relationships with potential foreign buyers, to providing technical and financial assistance, FAS resources and expertise link U.S. agriculture to a world of opportunities.

For those new to exporting, a great place to start is with the State Regional Trade Group (SRTG) that covers your area. FAS supports four of these nonprofit organizations, which in turn assist U.S. food and agricultural businesses with the entire exporting process. Your SRTG can help you learn the fundamentals of exporting, identify overseas opportunities and market your products through trade shows and trade missions. With FAS support, SRTGs also help fund international marketing campaigns and promote U.S. farm and food products overseas. FAS and SRTGs work closely together with the ultimate goal of helping U.S. food and agricultural interests build a global business. Here’s more information about the STRGs.

Candy Company Finds Sweet Success on Southeast Asia Trade Mission

Southeast Asia is a rapidly growing market for U.S. farm and food products, and exporters like Florida-based Kizable Kandy are eager to meet the demand.

But Brian Schroeder, Kizable’s director, noticed his company had a gap when it came to Southeast Asia. Kizable currently ships its candy, which comes in fun, designer tins, to more than 30 countries around the world – but it didn’t have a solid customer base in Southeast Asia, despite the region’s strong economic growth and increasing demand for high-value products.

From an Orchard in California to a Table in Canada and Beyond

What does a pomegranate need to do to get from an orchard in California to a dining table in Canada? The pomegranate doesn’t have to do anything, but U.S. growers must prepare the ground for their products in more ways than one. It takes knowledge and resources to bring U.S. food and agricultural products to the global marketplace – a daunting challenge for many farmers and small businesses.

But help is available. USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) supports four non-profit trade organizations, called State Regional Trade Groups (SRTGs), that provide hands-on support and assistance to U.S. small-and medium-size companies seeking to build a global business. SRTGs, working in conjunction with the state departments of agriculture in their respective regions, can help beginning exporters with everything from learning the fundamentals of exporting to identifying overseas opportunities and finding potential distributors. With support from FAS’ Market Access Program, SRTGs also help fund international marketing campaigns and promote U.S. farm and food products overseas.

U.S. Showcases Products at Asia's Largest Food and Beverage Show

It seemed as though the entire world was in Shanghai in mid-May, celebrating World Trade Week at SIAL China, Asia’s largest food and beverage trade show. The booming, bustling city was the perfect place for a show of its magnitude, where 99 U.S. companies and organizations showcased their products to the main players from China’s food and hospitality sectors.

The USA Pavilion was the largest international venue at the event and, of the U.S. companies exhibiting there, over half (54) were small or medium-sized businesses, 23 were new to the Chinese market, 16 were minority-owned and nine were completely new to exporting.

Helping Small Businesses Make a Trade Impact

Recently, USDA announced that U.S. agricultural exports for fiscal year 2013 finished at another record level, continuing the strongest five-year period for such exports in our nation’s history. Much of this success is due to small businesses, which Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack noted are the backbone of the economy in rural communities, small towns and big cities.

USDA’s efforts with small businesses is helped by the work of four State Regional Trade Groups – coalitions of state departments of agriculture – that use USDA market development program funds to provide support for about 30,000 companies annually.

No Bones about It – Barbecue Sauce a Hit Overseas

This holiday weekend, grills across the country will be fired up, bringing family and friends together to enjoy traditional, finger-licking American barbeque and celebrate the unofficial start of summer.