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WASHINGTON, May 20, 2009—The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) today announced final rule changes that will amend regulations for the Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops Program (TASC). The rule changes will take effect on June 11, 2009.

The TASC program helps open, retain and expand markets for U.S. specialty crops. Resources are provided to address barriers, including phytosanitary or related technical restrictions that prohibit or threaten the export of U.S. specialty crops. Specialty crops include all cultivated plants and their products produced in the United States except wheat, feed grains, oilseeds, cotton, rice, peanuts, sugar and tobacco.

The rule changes include:

  • Increasing the funding cap on individual proposals from $250,000 to $500,000 per year;
  • Increasing the maximum length of activity duration from three to five years; and
  • Increasing the number of projects a participant can have underway at any given time from three to five.
  • FAS received 17 comments on the proposed rule changes, which were requested in a Dec. 3, 2008, Federal Register notice. A copy of the current program regulations and other TASC information may be obtained on the FAS Web site at

    The Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002, reauthorized by the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, provides for mandatory funding to assist U.S. organizations to undertake projects that address sanitary, phytosanitary, and technical barriers that prohibit or threaten the export of U.S. speciality crops.

    For more information, contact Mark Slupek, Director, Program Operations Division, Office of Trade Programs at tele.: (202) 720-4327; or by e-mail:


    PR 0079-09

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