WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The USDA is accepting applications until Feb. 12, 2007, for two export market development programs -- the Quality Samples Program and the Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops program.

The QSP helps U.S. exporters provide samples of American commodities to foreign buyers who have not previously used them, as a means to encourage new purchases. The program supports projects that benefit whole industries rather than individual companies. When a project is finished, USDA reimburses the costs for procuring and exporting the samples.

The TASC program helps open, retain and expand markets for U.S. specialty crops. Resources are provided to address barriers, including phytosanitary or related technical restrictions that prohibit or threaten the export of U.S. specialty crops. Specialty crops include all cultivated plants and their products produced in the United States except wheat, feed grains, oilseeds, cotton, rice, peanuts, sugar and tobacco.

QSP and TASC proposals received by 5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Feb. 12, 2007, will be considered in a competitive review process. Applications received after the deadline may be considered if funding remains following the completion of the initial round.

Applicants can apply for either program using the Foreign Agricultural Service's Unified Export Strategy. The Web-based application is located on the Internet at www.fas.usda.gov/mos/ues/unified.asp. Applicants are strongly encouraged, but not required, to apply through the Internet. To do so, contact the FAS Program Policy Staff on (202) 720-4327 for a log-on ID and a password.

All applicants must submit a Dun & Bradstreet (D-U-N-S) number for federal assistance. Information and numbers may be obtained by calling the toll-free number 1-866-705-5711.

Applications not submitted via the Internet can be hand-delivered to: USDA, Foreign Agricultural Service, Program Policy Staff, Portals Office Building, Suite 400, 1250 Maryland Avenue, S.W., Washington, DC 20024; or mailed to: USDA, Foreign Agricultural Service, Program Policy Staff, 1400 Independence Ave. S.W., Stop Code 1042, Washington, DC 20250-1042. Details on application procedures for these programs can be found in the Federal Register notices posted on the Web at www.fas.usda.gov/info/fr/notices.asp.

SOURCE: USDA news release.