FRESNO, CA – February 12, 2019 – American Pistachio Growers (APG) has secured more than $2.8 million in funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to expand international trade in overseas markets, confront unjustified trade retaliation and to enhance research on the healthful attributes of American-grown pistachios.
This week, APG received news that it had secured $911,108 under USDA’s Market Access Program (MAP), completing a funding trifecta. On January 31st, APG was awarded $1.715 million in Agricultural Trade Promotion (ATP) Program funds, and it was recently the beneficiary of $248,158 in Specialty Crop Block Grant funding.
The MAP funds, administered through USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service, are awarded to organizations that partner with the service to share the costs of overseas marketing and promotional activities that help build commercial export markets for U.S. farm products and commodities.
American Pistachio Growers is among 57 organizations nationwide receiving ATP funds. The award of $1.715 million to APG will help its grower and processor members identify and access new export markets for pistachios. The ATP is one of three USDA programs created to mitigate the effects of unjustified trade retaliation against U.S. agricultural commodities.
“The award of these funds will go a long way toward boosting the appeal and demand for American-grown pistachios in some of our existing and emerging pistachio markets,” said APG Chairman Brian Watte of Brian Watte Farms in Tulare. “Considerable work has gone into securing these funds and now the work really begins as we help our industry get the biggest bang for the bucks that we have been awarded.”
Watte said the APG Marketing Communications Committee has been involved in developing the strategy to determine the best opportunities for market expansion on behalf of all pistachio growers.
The committee includes growers and nine of the industry’s 10 largest processors.
The $248,158 Specialty Crop Block Grant, which was awarded to APG by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service, is administered through the California Department of Food and Agriculture to help enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops like pistachios.
Richard Matoian, Executive Director of American Pistachio Growers, said the grant will help fund additional pistachio nutrition and health benefits research. He noted that American-grown pistachios have already captured the imagination of health-conscious consumers in the U.S. and abroad, and the additional research is welcomed to add to the expanding knowledge base about pistachios.
In securing the three government awards totaling $2.874 million, Matoian credited members of the APG Board of Directors, many of whom met with congressional leaders and USDA officials In Washington, D.C. as well as with officials with state departments of agriculture in California, Arizona and New Mexico. APG represents pistachio growers and member processors in all three states.
“These funds don’t fall out of the sky. It takes diligence, persistence and patience to be successful, and this was a cooperative effort by APG’s marketing team, the members of our Marketing and Communications Committee, and ongoing relationship building by our growers and member processors.
It is an example of the positive outcomes that result from this joint effort,” Matoian said. “It’s through these efforts that we have funds like this available to boost our reputation around the globe as the producers of the world’s best pistachios.”
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