ARLINGTON, VA. — The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) said on Dec. 15 it was awarded $925,000 from the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service Emerging Markets Program.

The initiative helps promote exports of US agricultural products to developing countries with strong growth potential.

“We are excited for NASDA members to engage in critical discussions to support global market development and strengthen bilateral trade relationships,” said Ted McKinney, chief executive officer of NASDA.

The association plans to use the funding to conduct market research for emerging markets in Southeast Asia and Africa. It also wants to organize outbound trade missions for the state department of agriculture leaders to learn about the markets and meet with relevant parties in each country.

“NASDA members understand how important it is to spread the message about the value and quality of US products and the benefits of innovation around the world. The first step in earning strong trading partners is establishing open communication and stewarding international relationships,” McKinney said. “We are appreciative of our partnership with USDA FAS that now enables us to embark on this mission and champion the federal government’s vision for international trade.”

The research from the program can be used to develop reports on the perception of US agriculture, consumer preferences and non-tariff barriers to market access. NASDA said it would sponsor up to five members on outbound trade missions to the selected countries.