Food Export Blog

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Food Export Blog

Food Export - Midwest and Food Export - Northeast's Branded Programs Are Growing!

Jun 19, 2019

The Branded Program is growing!

Food Export – Midwest and Food Export – Northeast’s Branded Program is a cost-share funding program where eligible U.S. suppliers can receive 50% reimbursement on a variety of international marketing activities. 


This program has helped small U.S. suppliers increase their international marketing efforts for years, making it possible for them to expand their export sales all around the globe. 

The Branded Program is made possible by the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service’s (FAS) Market Access Program (MAP).  We have seen strong demand for the Branded Program over the last few years and as such received an increase in our funding for the 2019 Program Year.   We have also received funding from the Agricultural Trade Promotion Program (ATP) that was announced back in 2018 as a result of the lasting trade and tariff issues.  Want to learn more about ATP and if you might be eligible to receiving funding from this program?  Reach out to the Food Export Liaison assigned to your state to discuss.

The 2019 Program Year is in full swing now, and we have 400+ companies that utilize the Branded Programs between the Midwest and Northeast regions annually! With such strong participation and funding support from USDA, we expect it to be a very busy next few years.

Branded Program Team

With an increase in demand and an increase in funding, we have increased our staff as well!  Meet all of the members of the Food Export – Midwest and Food Export – Northeast Branded Program teams below.

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Molly Burns
Branded Program Manager

Molly joined Food Export – Midwest in June 2012 and spent time as a Liaison before transitioning to the Branded Program team.  She graduated from Loyola University of Chicago with a major in International Studies.  While at Loyola she had the opportunity to study abroad in Italy and China, experiences that greatly increased her interest in international trade and assisting with U.S. exports.

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Veronica Wade 
Branded Program Coordinator

Veronica is a native Chicagoan and joined Food Export – Midwest in February 2009.  Veronica received her undergraduate degree in Paralegal Studies and is seeking to complete her Master's in Forensic Psychology.  As a Branded Program Coordinator her primary responsibilities are initial review of reimbursement claims and corresponding and interacting with program participants regarding administrative and compliance issues of the Branded Program. 

Mike 

Mike Hamrock 
International Marketing & Branded Program Associate

Mike joined Food Export – Midwest in January 2018 as an International Marketing Program Intern and then transitioned to a full time International Marketing & Branded Program Associate in January of 2019. Mike attended Loyola University of Chicago and earned his Bachelor’s Degree in both International Business and Information Systems Technology with a minor in Mandarin Chinese. He spent half a year living in China and has a great passion for working with Chinese companies and learning the language.  In his role he will serve as a dual Program Associate in both the Branded Program and International Marketing Program. 


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Erin Crowley 
International Marketing & Branded Program Associate

Erin joined Food Export – Midwest in February 2019 after having previously been an International Marketing Department intern with Food Export – Midwest back in 2016.  She attended DePaul University and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in International Studies and Economics.  While in college she had the opportunity to study abroad in Lima, Peru and after graduation, she spent 2 years working and teaching English in Costa Rica. Erin’s role will be split like Mike’s and she will serve as a dual Program Associate in both the Branded Program and International Marketing Program. 


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Howard Gordon 
Branded Program Manager

Howard joined Food Export – Northeast in September 2011 as a Liaison before transitioning to the Branded Program.  He attended Jacksonville University where he graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Marketing with a focus in Aviation Management.  Previous to his time at Food Export – Northeast he worked in airport customer service for 12 years, and he has also worked in state public service.


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Haley Dack
Branded Program Associate

Haley joined Food Export – Northeast in October 2018.  She attended Saint Joseph’s University where she graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Food Marketing.  Haley’s previous experiences include internships in the marketing and food industries and a role at a healthcare technology company in Philadelphia.

What’s New?

The 2019 Program Year is well underway, and we are about to kick off the 2020 Program Year August 1st!   Here is an update on some recent developments.

We Still Have Funding Available

We still have Branded Program funding available for 2019, so if you’re interested in learning more and applying, please call or email the liaison assigned to your state to discuss.  They are here to help!

Electronic Contracting

Electronic Contracting

Our contracts are now accepted electronically!  This was a brand-new addition to the 2019 Program Year for the Branded Program and has been going well.  We have instructional videos available for suppliers on our website to guide you through the electronic contracting process.

New Graduation-Exempt Shows

The USDA has declared that the Yummex and EuroTier tradeshows are now graduation-exempt shows.  This means that if you have used your 5 years of eligibility in either of those markets but still want to exhibit at those shows, you can use Branded Program funds to help. To see the official list of the shows that are exempt from graduation click here.

USDA Exempt Shows

You can learn more about the Branded Program on our website and in our 2019 Branded Program Exporter Manual.  We also have a YouTube Branded Program playlist with a variety of helpful and informational videos.  2018 was a phenomenal year for the Food Export – Midwest and Food Export – Northeast Branded Programs, and we can’t wait to see what 2019 and 2020 have in store!