Every May, Almond Board of California (ABC) applies for competitive federal grants administered by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS). These grants leverage grower funding for promoting almonds overseas. From year to year, ABC has consistently received an increasing amount from the grant pool. For 2014, the grant award is $3.5 million — the largest
received to date.
These funds enable ABC to extend the value of the grower investment in global market development for countries such as China, India, South Korea and Europe. These funds also help address challenging market access regulatory issues. With approximately 70% of almond production being shipped internationally, the California Almond industry is highly export focused. Developing sustained demand and avoiding shipment disruptions in the global marketplace are top priorities for ABC.
The federal grants are authorized through the farm bill. The 2014 farm bill contains 12 titles; many of these titles have a direct impact on the almond industry by funding programs beneficial to growers and handlers. These competitive grants for export market promotion are one example of those beneficial programs.