Lemon grove, Lemons, Lemon trees image.By Hjalmar18/Pixabay image

USDA’s new Assisting Specialty Crop Exports Initiative, ASCE, is now accepting applications. Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Alexis Taylor says the projects addresses challenges within the specialty crop export industry.

“Last year we created the Assisting Specialty Crop Exports initiative. This is part of a larger emphasis on supporting specialty crop producers we have at USDA. We also launched last fall the Specialty Crop Competitiveness Initiative, which is focused on supporting and targeting our programs and resources at USDA for specialty crop producers to make sure that our programs are really prioritizing their needs and prioritizing the types of activities on how to support them better, whether that be in the domestic marketplace or the international marketplace.

She said the programs within the initiative will tackle issues such as maximum residue levels, or MRLs, in produce and nuts sold to foreign markets.

“The first is around MRL regional harmonization. So, we are looking for folks to support work in Asia, Latin America, and Africa related to MRL for specialty crops in those regions to really help develop risk-based and trade facilitative policies that really line up with international standards like Codex,” Taylor said.

She said they’ll be targeting MRL guideline implementation in the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation economies to help facilitate adoption and implementation of official APEC MRL guidelines. Another project includes finding a research partner for data generation in an effort to get MRLs that are supportive of facilitating trade for specialty crops.

“The 4th project is around quick reference sheets for specialty crops to really develop some of the top specialty crop exports to the top markets so producers could quickly identify where their products might be going and what types of pesticide and fungicide products they can use and at what levels to still be able to access that market,” Taylor continued. “And then the 5th project which is not tied to MRL’s will target sustainable packaging innovation lab and we’re looking for a partner to create this lab.” Applications for the MRL Quick Marketing Sheets focus area are due June 6. Applications for the other projects are due in late July.

Listen to Sabrina Halvorson’s program here.

Sabrina HalvorsonNational Correspondent / AgNet Media, Inc.

Sabrina Halvorson is an award-winning journalist, broadcaster, and public speaker who specializes in agriculture. She primarily reports on legislative issues and hosts The AgNet News Hour and The AgNet Weekly podcast. Sabrina is a native of California’s agriculture-rich Central Valley.



are you a developer?

  • Proven International Track Record
  • Vertically Integrated Federal Funds
  • Vertically Integrated Tax Credits
  • Vertically Integrated Investors
  • Vertically Integrated Lenders
  • Vertically Integrated Contractors