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What is MAP Branded?
The Market Access Program is a cost-sharing, matching funds
program that supports the promotion of branded and private label
food and agricultural products in foreign markets. Under the Branded
Program, eligible companies can be reimbursed up to 50% of their
approved promotional expenditures in a foreign market. The funding
of this program comes from USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service
Who is eligible to receive funding
through the program?
Companies that are defined
as "small" by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)
and farmer cooperatives are eligible to participate in the Branded
Program. Generally the following industries must meet the below criteria:
- Manufacturers < 500 employees
- Packers < 500 employees
- Processors < 500 employees
- Export Agents/Trading Companies < 100 employees
- Wholesalers < 100 employees
- Farmer Cooperatives (unlimited)
In addition, a company must:
- Be incorporated in the United States
- Have a branded product sourced from the region
or an entity within the region that is at least 50% U.S. agricultural
origin by weight
- Be registered in good standing with the State's Secretary of State
- Promote products as “Made in the USA”
- Have sufficient product to supply buyers
- Pay for the promotions in advance
- Own or have the rights to the brand name
- Not receive funding from another State Regional Trade Group (SRTG) or cooperator
in the same market
Approval of applicants is in the discretion of SUSTA and in accordance with its construction of its purpose.
How much does it cost to participate
in the program?
All program participants are required to pay:
- A non-refundable $250 Application Fee.
- A non-refundable Administration Fee equal to
6% of any approved funding allocation (i.e. a company approved
for $10,000 would pay SUSTA a $600 Administration Fee) payable
when the Branded contract is awarded.
What are the minimum and maximum
amounts of Branded funds that a company can request?
The minimum request level
is $2,500 total. This means that companies
must spend $5,000 in promotional activities to be reimbursed $2,500
(50%) by SUSTA. The maximum amount that a returning participant can request
is $300,000 per program year. First time companies are limited to a total allocation
of $25,000, or $50,000 with previous export experience.
How can I determine if my company fits the SBA definition of a small business?
Follow this link: http://www.sba.gov/content/table-small-business-size-standards.
My company does not subscribe to
Dun & Bradstreet (D&B). What do we do?
You do not have to subscribe to D&B to obtain a report. Call
their Customer Service at 1-800-234-3867 or visit their webpage
Who is the contact at my state department of agriculture?
Refer to SUSTA’s homepage www.susta.org
and click on your state for a list of marketing contacts
What types of products are eligible?
Any U.S.-produced/grown branded agricultural
products, such as:
- Fresh Produce
- High-Value Food Products
- Snack Foods
- Condiments & Sauces
- Specialty Food Items
- Some Wood Products
- Hides & Skins
- Pet Foods
- Ornamental Horticulture
- Health & Beauty Products
- Pet Bedding
- Alternative Building Materials
- Alternative Interior Furnishings
All products must:
- Be at least 50% U.S. agricultural origin by weight (excluding
added water and packaging)
- Have a brand name
- Be promoted as “Product of the U.S.A.”,
“Grown in the U.S.A.”, “Product of Louisiana”,
What products are NOT eligible?
Products promoted under the program must be at least 50% U.S.
agricultural origin by weight excluding added water and packaging. Products must adhere to the regulations listed below. Products that do not comply are not eligible.
- Products with less than 50% of U.S. origin
- Products not labeled as “Product of the
- Products already covered by an FAS cooperator
project, export incentive program or state export program
- Products not listed in the Branded application
- A branded product without Brand Owner’s
Permission for the target market
- A branded product already covered in a country
by another MAP Branded company
- Products that fall under the domain of the
Department of Commerce, i.e. shoes, machinery, textile, etc.
of activities are eligible?
Many direct marketing and
promotional activities are eligible, including:
- Advertising and public relations (must
state the brand name and have a U.S. origin statement)
- Trade and consumer product demonstrations
- In-store demonstrations and food tasting
- International trade show expenses (includes
construction of booth, exhibiting fees, international travel,
freight, set-up and rental costs, etc.)
- Some expenses at approved domestic trade shows,
if you have not exhibited at the show in the last three years
(includes exhibiting fees, freight, set-up and rental costs, etc.).
Note that domestic travel costs are not reimbursable!
- Product literature and point-of-sale materials
(must state the brand name and have a U.S. origin statement)
- Package and label modification of existing
labels (if the change is necessary to meet foreign government
- Freight costs for samples
- Promotional gift items (up to $1 or 50% of
cost per item, whichever is less)
What kinds of activities are ineligible?
Expenses that are generally considered "costs of doing business"
are not eligible for reimbursement. This includes, but is not limited
- All promotions or printed materials that are
NOT promoted as “Made in the USA”
- Product development, product modification,
or product research
- All costs of international travel not specifically
in compliance with eligible international travel expenses to overseas
trade shows, per guidelines outlined in the Branded Program Manual.
- All costs for design and production of new
packaging and labeling
- Cost of product samples
- Market research and consultant fees
- Administrative expenses, overhead and salaries
- Slotting fees, licensing fees and other similar
- Capital expenditures (the purchase of any item
with a usable life greater than one year).
- Non-promotional translation services (routine
correspondence, sales meetings, etc.)
- Internet web site development
- General company literature that doesn’t
include product promotion information.
EXPENSE CLAIMS AND REIMBURSEMENTS
What requirements must I meet in order
to get reimbursed through the program?
First, only certain activities are eligible for Branded Program
reimbursement (see "What Kinds of Activities
are Eligible?" above).
SUSTA cannot reimburse you for
ineligible activities! Furthermore, to be eligible for reimbursement,
your activities must:
- Clearly label the product and all printed sales
materials with the brand name and identify the origin of the agricultural
commodity with one of the following U.S. origin statements: "Product
of U.S.A," "Grown in the U.S.", or "Made in
America". Reference to "America" or a state name
in the product brand name does not satisfy this
- Be included in a pre-approved marketing plan
for the country where the activity is being undertaken
- Occur after your documented "approval
date" and before the conclusion of the program year
- Comply with all federal travel regulations,
if you want to claim reimbursement for international travel to
overseas trade shows
- Comply with any other rules and regulations
that may be required for specific types of activities
When do participating companies receive
the funding allocated to them?
Companies receive the funding on a 50% cost reimbursement basis,
only after their pre-approved promotional activity has been completed
and SUSTA receives and processes the claim with the required supporting
How long does a company have to spend
the allocated funds?
Branded Program funding is allocated on a program year basis.
If a company applies by the priority
deadline, they will receive documented approval before
the program year begins and have twelve months to carry out marketing activities
and spend the allocation.
If a company applies after the
priority deadline , they will
be eligible to begin spending the allocation after the documented
approval date. Activities carried out prior to the company’s
"official approval date" for that activity cannot be
reimbursed under any circumstances.
How long does it take to get reimbursed
for an eligible expense?
SUSTA receives hundreds of requests for reimbursement each year.
Expense claims must be submitted within 60 days of the activity.
Requests are processed in the order received. Generally, if we do
not require any additional information or documentation from you,
we can usually reimburse you in 7-10 days. (This takes into account
the time it takes SUSTA to request and receive your company’s
funding from FAS.)
If additional information is needed to process
your request, you will be notified as soon as possible. In this
instance, the time it takes us to reimburse you is solely dependent
upon your ability to provide us with the additional information/documentation
that we require. The quicker you submit the additional information,
the quicker we will reimburse you. You must submit additional information within
30 days. If we require additional information
to process your reimbursement request, it may take longer than 30
days to process your request
How many years can I participate in the
There is no limit to the total number of years you can participate
in the program. However, you can only use the funding (receive reimbursement)
for a maximum of five years in any one country
(including the United States).
Can foreign representatives/agents be
reimbursed for expenses?
Yes, but not directly. The participant in the Branded Program must
first pay their foreign agent or representative before it can submit
the eligible expenses to SUSTA for 50% cost reimbursement.
If I am going to a trade show like ANUGA,
why do I have to do a Country Marketing Plan for Germany? I don’t
sell anything in Germany; all my customers are in Spain. I am just
going to the show to meet with them. Shouldn’t I put it under
The Branded program is country specific and is only reimbursable
that way. ANUGA occurs in Germany so if a company wants to be reimbursed
for it, Germany must be listed as one of the markets in its Branded
Can the program reimburse for the packaging
and labeling costs?
Yes, the program can reimburse the cost to redesign
and print labels in order to meet the target country's
importation regulations. This means you must already have labels
for your product. This is a one-time reimbursable expense, unless
the country labeling requirements change again.
No, the program cannot
reimburse for new product labels, label reprints, or the cost of
submitting your application with the foreign government (i.e. Mexico’s
NOTE: Your domestic labels and
packages must already contain a U.S. origin statement
before SUSTA can approve your request for changes required by the
Can the program cover the cost of my travel
to another country?
Yes, the program can cover travel
for up to two company employees to exhibit at an international trade
No, the program cannot cover
travel for a business meeting, domestic trade show, business seminar,
or to "walk the floor" at an international trade show.
Can I be reimbursed for my international
travel using electronic ticketing (“E-ticket”)?
FAS allows the reimbursement of allowable travel using E-tickets
if each traveler is able to document the costs of EACH segment
of a flight, including complete routing codes and the fare amount
charged. In other words, the E-ticket itinerary MUST include:
- Complete routing codes (i.e. layover and
flight information for each segment of a trip in which a change
of airplane or flight designation is made), and
- The fare amount charged (i.e. point-to-point
Reasonable costs charged by the travel agent or
other ticketing sources to provide this information are reimbursable.
What happens if I travel or upgrade from
Coach fare to Business or First Class?
If you travel business or first class on any or all the segments,
you must be able to document what the full coach fares would have
been for EACH of the segments at the time of booking.
If the trip is a simple round-trip flight, you may go to a website
like Travelocity.com or Expedia.com and use information from that
source as the documentation. This information is necessary to determine
the eligibility for reimbursement of each particular leg of a journey.
Why do I have to notify the FAS office in
my target country?
It is a federal regulation that persons traveling and being reimbursed
under MAP Branded must notify that office. It also gives you a chance
to introduce your company to USDA’s Agricultural Trade Officers
(ATO) that may be able to assist you in your endeavors. ATOs can
provide market information and they may assist in arranging meetings
with potential buyers. If you give them enough lead-time, they could
possibly arrange something to correspond with the trade show.
Can I get reimbursed for the travel and
trade show activities if I do not notify the FAS field office?
NO! You must fax or email FAS Post Notification Form preferably
45 days prior to departure, but definitely before you depart for
the country. You must keep your fax transmittal sheet or print your
email and submit it with your Travel Expense Reimbursement Form.
If the people that are traveling change
for any reason, do I have to re-notify the FAS field office of the
YES! You must submit the updated transmittal sheet with
your Travel Expense Reimbursement Form.
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