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How to Apply For Specialty Crop Program

Take the following steps when applying for Specialty Crop Export Program funds:

  1. Determine your company’s eligibility. Is your company a registered North Dakota company with a measurable North Dakota presence?
  2. Gather Materials Before beginning your application, collect the following:
    • NAICS Code: Used to identify the applicant’s business industry. Find Your NAICS Code.
    • ND Secretary of State registration: Verify with the North Dakota Secretary of State that your company is registered with them and is in good standing.
    • Majority Owner information Identify all the categories that relate to the majority owner for reporting purposes.
    • Sales Figures: Confirm total and gross export sales for the previous fiscal/calendar year.
    • Identify the number of employees in ND
    • Export markets and volume percentages: Identify your company’s export countries/markets and the corresponding export sales volume
  3. Complete Application: The Specialty Crop Export Program application and accompanying documents are available beginning in September and can be found at Applications should be submitted to NDTO 30 days in advance of the activity start date. Companies must complete one Company Application per grant year and a separate Activity Application for each event they are requesting funds for. The application process includes the following:
    • Company Application Requires basic company, contact, industry, and financial information.
    • Certification Statements
      • Applicant’s Certification
      • IRS W-9 tax form
      • Success Agreement
      • All statements/documents must be signed by a company owner or listed officer and dated.
  4. Submit Supporting Application Materials via mail or email.


After completing the application and accompanying documents, either send the items to Specialty Crop Export Program North Dakota Trade Office 4844 Rocking Horse Circle South, Suite 1 Fargo, North Dakota 58104 or email them to Amanda Nordick at or fax them to 701-929-6713.

Applications are reviewed based on the program guidelines, and if accepted, approval is given based on the quality of the application and the overall funding available.

  1. Allocation: NDTO allocates funds to approved companies on a first-come, first-served basis. Once all funding is allocated, the application process is over. Allocations are pre-determined based on a variety of factors:
    • Travel expenses estimated (airfare, hotel meals per diem) for the NDTO-led missions to target countries or the NDTO-organized reverse trade mission
    • Amount of total funding available
    • Previous funding allocations to the company and resulting successful outcomes

Applicants may receive less than the full amount requested. NDTO reserves the right to accept or reject any application or to limit allocations to any applicant.

  1. Review Committee: All applications meeting the eligibility requirements will be reviewed by NDTO staff. If any applications require further analysis, NDTO reserves the right to share those applications with Specialty Crop Export Program partners to seek their input and arrive at a decision. NDTO’s decisions are final.
  2. Approval Date: NDTO seeks to make a decision on each application within one week of receipt of a completed application. This time frame may be extended if an application requires additional analysis, site visit, interviews, etc.
  3. Activity Start Date: If a pre-approved activity is not completed, the application will be deemed to be withdrawn by the applicant. The Applicant may make a new application for another activity.

Participating companies may need to change their plans after the activity/project has been approved. Changes to existing approvals are accomplished through amendments. Amendments can be made anytime during the program before the activity’s commencement date. Contact NDTO in advance with any questions.

Companies wishing to change the activity must resubmit an Activity Application to NDTO as a new activity.

This checklist will help you before, during, and after the activity.

  1. Pre-Approval: Verify that the activity, promoted product(s), and country are listed on the approved application.
  2. Timing Activities: must occur after the “Approval Date” and before the end of the grant period.
  3. Proof of Payment A payment confirmation is required, shown in US dollars. Reimbursement is based on your payment, so we must have the proper documentation. The acceptable forms of payment include:
    • Cash Receipt: For cash expenses less than $1,000, a signed receipt must be marked “paid” and show a zero balance.
    • Check: A cleared, bank-encoded, canceled version of the check, or a copy of the front and back of the check accompanied by a copy of the bank statement showing the check withdrawal as a line item or posted.
    • Credit Card Statement: A credit card statement showing the name of the participating company, the vendor, and the charge as a line item is required. We do not need proof of payment to the credit card company.
    • Wire Transfer Confirmation We must see the wire transfer confirmation or the bank statement showing the posted transaction. The request alone is not sufficient.
    • Credit/Debit Memo A copy of the credit/debit memo, a copy of the account statement or product invoice showing the deduction taken, and copies of invoices for product shipped to the vendor and the corresponding credit memo that equals or exceeds the amount of the credit/debit memo.
  1. Proof of Activity: Provide proof of your activity. Because this varies by activity, please see the activity details under General Requirements for Reimbursement below.

Companies will only be reimbursed for travel on NDTO led international trade missions to target countries, for expenses related to the NDTO-organized reverse trade mission, or for approved activities that meet the grant goals. Please note: Travel expenses are eligible for company employees only. Travel expenses are not eligible for third-party travelers such as importers/distributors, consultants, or specialists.

1. Before Your Trip: Make Travel Preparations

  • Submit Pre-Travel Notification: All international and domestic air travel arrangements and mileage must be submitted to NDTO 30 days prior to the departure date. Submissions must include the travel dates, the traveler’s name, the destination country and cities; US flagged airline economy class cost and lodging costs per the US State Department per diem rates. Exception for the 30 notice time frame may be allowed in emergencies.
  • Purchase Airline Tickets with Care: Comply with the Fly America Act: Travelers must fly on a US carrier in and out of the United States. Travel outside of the US within other countries may be on a foreign carrier. If it is a “codeshare” flight, the 2-letter code for the US partner airline must show on the ticket. Buy Full Fare Coach/Economy Class Tickets: Travelers will be reimbursed at the cost of a full fare coach/economy class ticket. Business or First Class travelers must submit a written quote of the coach/economy class fare for the same destination and dates of travel, obtained on the same date, for consideration.
  • Choose Direct Flights to and from the Destination: Fly directly to and from the approved destination. If you fly to other destinations or extend your trip, you must submit a written quote of the coach/economy class fare directly to and from the approved destination. Written quote must come from a website (printed with URL address and showing/ or from a travel agent). Be sure to obtain a quote at the time you are booking your airfare. Quotes done after the trip takes place are not eligible.

2. During Your Trip: Collect Documentation

  • Airfare Passenger Receipt or E-ticket Receipt: Keep the Passenger Receipt or E-ticket Receipt, which shows the ticket number, the complete routing codes, including layover and flight segments, and the fare amount charged (i.e., point-to-point faring). In addition to the Passenger Receipt, you must provide a printed itinerary.
  • Lodging: You will be reimbursed for no more than the US government per diem rate listed at If your destination city is not listed, please choose “Other” to determine the per diem rate. Obtain a detailed copy of the hotel statement showing the occupant’s name, arrival/departure dates, daily room rate, and total charges (indicating a zero balance). The hotel statement must be translated into English if it is in a foreign language. If the hotel was reserved and prepaid online or through a travel agent, you must obtain a receipt from the hotel showing the occupant’s name and arrival/departure dates to confirm the reservation was kept. Lodging statements must be in US dollars or converted into US dollars. Foreign currency charges shown on credit card statements are not eligible for reimbursement.

3. Reimbursement Requirements

  • Email copies of the completed Request for Reimbursement and supporting documentation to NDTO. All reimbursement claims should be submitted to NDTO within 30 days of the completion of the activity. Claims are due 30 days after activity completion. You must provide NDTO with supporting documentation for each reimbursement claim. All reimbursements require the submission of three items:
    • An invoice
    • Proof of payment (copies only)
    • Proof of activity – If a picture or printed material is being submitted as proof of activity, only one of each item is needed per reimbursement request.

Keep copies of all reimbursement request materials, including original copies of vendor invoices. Upon review, NDTO may request original documentation. Please note: You must maintain your Specialty Crop Export Program files for at least 3 years following the end of the program year. Files are subject to audit by NDTO. Once your reimbursement claim has been reviewed and you have been notified of any additional documentation needed, you have 15 days to provide the documents or your reimbursement claim may be denied.

All invoices submitted for reimbursement must contain detailed information in English or translated into English:

  • Dates of expenses must be readable
  • Name and contact information of vendor
  • All itemized charges (summary invoices are ineligible)

Invoices must either be in English or be accompanied by an English translation. For foreign currency exchange rate conversions, please use and enter the date or date range.

If NDTO reimburses a participant and it is determined at a later date that an error was made in computation or that the participant was ineligible, the participant agrees to reimburse NDTO within 15 days of notice from NDTO.

The activities listed below require specific documentation to qualify for reimbursement.

  1. Trade Missions: Proof of participation in the trade mission may include a photo of the traveling group in a destination country and a copy of the participation agreement for the mission.
  2. Travel: Travel expenses to participate in NDTO Trade Missions or the NDTO Reverse Trade Mission are eligible for a maximum of one US-based company employee. Travel expenses are not eligible for third-party travelers such as importers/distributors, consultants, or specialists.
  3. Airfare: Passenger Receipt or E-ticket Receipt indicating direct flight(s) on a US carrier to and from the approved destination with full-fare coach/economy class tickets
  4. Flight Itinerary: List each leg of the flight, flight numbers, airports, dates, and times. Please note: Carrier airline codes and flight numbers are required for flights departing from and arriving in the United States
    • If applicable, a quote for a full-fare coach/economy class ticket on a US carrier to and from the approved destination
  5. Lodging: Hotel statements or receipts showing occupant’s name, arrival/departure dates, daily room rate, total charges, and a zero balance. If the statement is in a foreign language, an English translation must be provided. Statements must be shown in US dollars.
  6. Prepaid Lodging: Detailed invoice from the travel agent or website listing the nightly room rate and a statement from the hotel detailing the occupant’s name and the arrival/departure dates
  7. Reverse Trade Missions: Proof of participation in the trade mission may include a photo of a company representative and the international group at a company facility, tour, program event, etc., and a copy of the participation agreement for the mission
  8. Activity Results: Participants in the Specialty Crop Export Program must submit a number of prospective buyers met with during each trade mission, quarterly export sales information, and survey requests to NDTO that resulted from the approved activity through the end of the grant period. These results include dealer/distributor signed agreements. These activity results and outcomes should be submitted to NDTO no later than 15 calendar days after each quarter or upon request by NDTO.