Madison (WKOW) -- from State of Wisconsin: Governor Jim Doyle announced Monday that federal matching funds are available to help Wisconsin food companies promote their products in foreign markets.
Up to $300,000 of funding is available per company for efforts to promote and market their products overseas.
"Consumers around the world enjoy Wisconsin's diverse and high-quality agriculture products," Governor Doyle said. "By building Wisconsin's brand image abroad we will create demand for our food products which will help ensure a healthy agricultural economy."
The Branded ProgramTM reimburses participants for up to half of their international marketing and promotional expenses, including the cost of foreign trade shows, international travel, advertising, product demonstrations, point-of-sale materials, and package and label modifications to meet foreign import requirements.
The funds will boost Wisconsin's record agriculture exports, which are driven by growing consumer demand in Canada, Mexico, Japan, China and Korea for dairy products, baking and brewing ingredients, foods and food preparations, beverages and hides.
Wisconsin is the 16th largest exporter of agricultural commodities in the United States and the state's agricultural exports increased by 13 percent during the first six months of 2008, reaching a record $975 million.
Agricultural exports help the state and nation's trade balance, enable Wisconsin farmers and food and agriculture businesses to grow, and create jobs for Wisconsin citizens.
Wisconsin agricultural exports account for about 20 percent of Wisconsin farm income.
Agriculture generates $51 billion for the state annually and close to half a million jobs.
Food Export Association of the Midwest USA is a private, non-profit association of Midwestern state agricultural promotion agencies that use federal, state, and industry resources to promote the export of Midwestern food and agricultural products.
Food Export-Midwest administers the Branded ProgramTM and funds are for international marketing activities in the 2009 calendar year.
Program participants must fit the U.S. Small Business Administration's definition of a "small company" and be incorporated in the United States.
In addition, at least half of their products must be made with domestic ingredients.
Agriculture cooperatives and export agents that work on behalf of U.S. food companies also are eligible for assistance, provided they meet program requirements.
Midwest participants collectively receive nearly $6 million annually in reimbursements.
The Branded ProgramTM reimburses eligible companies between $2,500 and $300,000 for eligible marketing activities.
"Wisconsin companies that haven't yet applied for branded funds are missing a great opportunity to expand their marketing and sales to international markets," said Rod Nilsestuen, Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP).