Agricultural Section

Foreign Agricultural Service

The Foreign Agricultural Service has primary responsibility for all U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) activities overseas: analyzing and reporting on trends in agricultural production, consumption and trade; negotiating and monitoring international trade agreements related to agriculture; working to improve foreign market access; and promoting exports of U.S. food, beverage and agricultural products.

The Foreign Agricultural Service also administers USDA’s export credit guarantee and food aid programs; coordinates technical assistance to other countries to stimulate agricultural development, increase food availability and improve overall economic growth; and works to enhance the competitiveness of U.S. agriculture by providing linkages to international organizations.

The Foreign Agricultural Service promotes U.S. agricultural interests through its network of agricultural counselors, attachés, and trade officers stationed abroad and commodity analysts, marketing specialists, trade negotiators, and related specialists based in Washington, DC.

In Russia, the Foreign Agricultural Service is represented by the Office of Agricultural Affairs (OAA) and the Agricultural Trade Office (ATO), which are both located in the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. In addition, agricultural marketing specialists at the U.S. Consulates in St. Petersburg and Vladivostok help cover the Northwest region and the Russian Far East.

  • Reporting
  • Trade Policy
  • Market Promotion
  • Credit Guarantee Programs
  • Assistance Programs
  • Exchange Programs

Please visit our new Department of Agriculture in Russia at www.eng.usda.ru.

For more information:

Office of Agricultural Affairs
Tel: (7-495) 728-5222
(Moscow is 8 hours ahead of Washington)
Fax: (7-495) 728-5133 or 728-5102
E-mail: AgMoscow@fas.usda.gov

Agricultural Trade Office
Tel: (7-495) 728-5560
(Moscow is 8 hours ahead of Washington)
Fax: (7-495) 728-5069
E-mail: ATOMoscow@fas.usda.gov

The Foreign Agricultural ServiceHomepage: www.fas.usda.gov
USDA Homepage: www.usda.gov

Reporting

Reports prepared by the Foreign Agricultural Service offices abroad cover changes in policies and other developments that could affect U.S. agricultural exports. These reports also assess U.S. export marketing opportunities and respond to the daily informational needs of those who develop, initiate, monitor, and evaluate U.S. food and agricultural policies and programs. Much of this information is available in the form of published reports, news announcements, and other publications, such as the AgExporter Magazine. Many of the reports are available online.

In Russia, the Foreign Agricultural Service closely tracks developments in the rapidly-changing agricultural sector, reporting on events or policy changes that could have an impact on exports of U.S. food and agricultural products to Russia or to other countries. Reports prepared by the Office of Agricultural Affairs cover all aspects of domestic production, consumption and trade for a variety of agricultural commodities, while the Agricultural Trade Office generates reports that highlight trends and marketing opportunities in the Russian retail food, hotel and restaurant, and food processing sectors. Copies of these reports are available from the Office of Agricultural Affairs, from the Agricultural Trade Office, or online.

Trade Policy

The Foreign Agricultural Service coordinates and directs USDA’s obligations in international trade negotiations, working closely with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. Trade policy experts in the Foreign Agricultural Service help identify — and work to reduce or eliminate — foreign trade barriers and other trading practices and policies that hinder U.S. agricultural exports.

The Foreign Agricultural Service/Moscow maintains close contact with Russian Government officials, local trade contacts, U.S. exporters, and U.S. industry organizations in an ongoing effort to maintain and improve market access for U.S. food and agricultural products. In addition, the Office of Agricultural Affairs, in coordination with other U.S. Embassy officials, works closely with the Russian Government in support of Russia’s bid to join the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Market Promotion

The Foreign Market Development (FMD) Program, also known as the Cooperator Program, supports the creation, expansion, and maintenance of long-term export markets for U.S. agricultural products. For more than 45 years, the program has fostered a trade promotion partnership between USDA and U.S. agricultural producers and processors, who are represented by nonprofit commodity or trade associations called Cooperators. Under this partnership, USDA and the Cooperator pool their technical and financial resources to conduct overseas market development activities. Some of the Cooperators have offices in Russia and work closely with the Foreign Agricultural Service/Moscow to develop the local market for U.S. agricultural products.

The Market Access Program (MAP) uses funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) to help develop foreign markets for U.S. agricultural products. The MAP forms a partnership between non-profit U.S. agricultural trade associations, U.S. agricultural cooperatives, non-profit state-regional trade groups, small U.S. businesses, and USDA’s Commodity Credit Corporation to share the costs of overseas marketing and promotional activities such as consumer promotions, market research, trade shows, and trade servicing.

The U.S. Agricultural Trade Office in Moscow offers a range of trade services (Trade Leads, information on U.S. sources of food and agricultural products, Russian buyer contact information, market reports, etc.) that are designed to help identify export opportunities and link U.S. exporters and Russian buyers. The ATO also conducts a variety of marketing activities (trade shows, supermarket promotions, menu promotions, etc.) to help promote U.S. food and agricultural products, especially new-to-market items, in Russia.

Credit Guarantee Programs

The U.S. Department of Agriculture administers several export credit guarantee programs for commercial financing of U.S. agricultural exports. These USDA Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) programs encourage sales to buyers in countries where credit is necessary to maintain or increase U.S. sales, but where financing may not be available without such credit guarantees.

The Export Credit Guarantee Program (GSM-102) underwrites credit extended by the private banking sector in the United States (or, less commonly, by the U.S. exporter) to approved foreign banks using dollar-denominated, irrevocable letters of credit to pay for food and agricultural products sold to foreign buyers. The CCC does not provide financing, but guarantees payments due from foreign banks. Typically, 98 percent of principal and a portion of interest at an adjustable rate are covered for a period of up to three years. Because payment is guaranteed, financial institutions in the United States can offer competitive credit terms to the foreign banks, usually with interest rates based on the London Inter-Bank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Any follow-on credit arrangements between the foreign bank and the importer are negotiated separately and are not covered by the CCC guarantee. In FY2002, a $20 million program was established for Russia.

Under the Supplier Credit Guarantee Program (SCGP), the CCC guarantees a portion (currently 65 percent) of payments due from importers under short-term financing (up to180 days) that exporters have extended directly to the importers for the purchase of U.S. agricultural products. These direct credits must be secured by promissory notes signed by the importers. CCC does not provide financing but guarantees payment due from the importer. In FY2002, a $20 million program was approved for Russia.

The Facility Guarantee Program (FGP) is designed to expand sales of U.S. agricultural products to emerging markets where the demand for such products may be constrained due to inadequate storage, processing, or handling capabilities. The program provides payment guarantees to facilitate the financing of U.S.-origin manufactured goods and services used to improve or establish agriculture-related facilities in these emerging markets. In FY2002, a $10 million program was established for Russia.

Assistance Programs

The Emerging Markets Program (EMP) provides funding for technical assistance programs activities that improve the effectiveness of food and agribusiness systems in emerging-market countries and expand market access opportunities for U.S. agricultural products or processes. The underlying premise is that emerging markets require targeted technical assistance before these markets can be developed through normal trade promotion activities. The program is intended to support the efforts of small-to-medium-sized U.S. agricultural and agribusiness firms — particularly those that may need assistance in obtaining or maintaining access in overseas markets. All agricultural commodities, except tobacco, are eligible for consideration, with funding provided on a project-by-project basis.

Exchange Programs

Since 1984, the Cochran Fellowship Training Program has provided training for nearly 7,600 agriculturists from 81 middle-income countries, emerging markets, and emerging democracies. The program offers short-term, non-academic training in the United States for public and private sector senior and mid-level specialists and managers who are involved in agricultural trade, agribusiness development, management, policy, marketing, and technology transfer. Training programs range from 2 to 3 weeks and include a mix of technical instruction, practical field observations, and hands-on experience. Since 1992, more than 500 Russian participants have received training under the program.