Specialty Crop – Program Guidelines

Program Guidelines


The Specialty Crop Program is a reimbursement program authorized by the North Dakota Department of Agriculture’s Specialty Crop Block Grant Program and Agricultural Act. The North Dakota Trade Office (NDTO) is providing Specialty Crop Program funding to eligible business concerns to increase global market visibility and competitiveness of the North Dakota specialty crop sector. Specialty crops included in this program are peas, beans, lentils, and confectionary sunflowers.


North Dakota’s specialty crop companies are interested in developing future international markets. NDTO, working with partners and industry stakeholders in specialty crops, helps companies identify target markets, qualified buyers, distributors, and importers of specialty crops. The high cost of developing these international markets is an obstacle to exporters. NDTO has implemented a reimbursement program for approved participating companies in the North Dakota Specialty Crop Program. The North Dakota Trade Office is committed to expanding and increasing North Dakota trade, and we will assist companies with the development of long term expansion initiatives.


The North Dakota Trade Office will make funds available effective October 1st, 2018 and will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, provided the applicant company has been deemed qualified according to program guidelines and requirements. When all the Specialty Crop Program funds have been committed and/or paid out, no more applications will be accepted. Funds will be used to assist eligible companies as follows:
  • Travel expense reimbursement for NDTO led trade missions to target countries
  • Travel expense reimbursement for NDTO organized reverse trade mission


Participation in the Specialty Crop Program is open to any ND company that meets the following criteria:
  1. Has been in business for not less than the one year period ending on the date on which assistance is provided
  2. Is operating profitably, based on operations in the United States
  3. Has demonstrated understanding of the costs associated with exporting and doing business with foreign purchasers, including the costs of freight forwarding, customs brokers, packing and shipping
  4. Has in effect a strategic plan for exporting
In addition, applicants must:
  1. Be a ND registered company in good standing and have a significant on-the-ground presence in ND
  2. Be export-ready as determined by NDTO based on the company’s ability to meet new customer demand, provide any necessary customer service to foreign buyers and meet any applicable export regulations and/or certifications that may be required to sell their product or service in the target market
  3. Have a current commercialized product or service with domestic and/or foreign sales history
  4. Apply directly to receive program funds – no third party representatives may apply on behalf of the company
  5. Not be debarred, suspended, proposed for debarment, declared ineligible, or voluntarily excluded from participation in receiving these funds by any state department or agency
  6. Submit a Company Application to NDTO only once with the initial Trade Trip Application; separate Trip Applications must be submitted for each planned event by the participant.
  7. Be an owner or authorized officer of the company in order to sign the Application and all accompanying attachments to it.
NDTO reserves the right to approve or disapprove any application and associated expenses, determine eligibility matters, approve or disapprove reimbursement of expenses to a company and interpret Specialty Crop Program guidelines and requirements.


  1. No Specialty Crop Program funds can be used for reimbursement of any expenses that a company incurred prior to receiving a written commitment from NDTO which will outline the agreed-upon activity, allowable expenses, and time period
  2. Specialty Crop Program funds can only be paid to a company on a reimbursable basis upon timely submission of receipts/proof of payment to NDTO. No cash advances will be paid. NDTO reserves the right to determine the expense reasonableness and whether an expense is allowable under the Specialty Crop Program guidelines
  3. All receipts for pre-approved activities must be submitted by December 31, 2021 to NDTO in order to be considered for reimbursement under the Specialty Crop Program.
  4. Participants will be required to provide estimated goals and outcomes at the time of application as a result of accepting Specialty Crop Program funds. In addition, you agree to timely answer surveys and provide quarterly information on program outcomes after the activity to include:
    • Number of prospective buyers met during the trade mission
    • US dollar value of projected export sales through December 31, 2021
    • US dollar value of actual export sales through December 31, 2021
    • Quantity of product sold (if possible) through December 31, 2021
    • Number of export-related agreements the participant signs, such as memorandums of understanding (MOU), distributor or agent agreements, sales agreements, etc.,
    • Any additional information or success stories relevant to your participation in the Specialty Crop Program
  5. Activities/projects must be completed as proposed on the approved application to NDTO. No changes will be allowed.
  6. If international air travel is submitted as an activity expense for future reimbursement, Participant acknowledges that air travel must be on a US carrier (Fly America Act) departing and returning to the US and only economy-class airfare will be reimbursed. If Participant chooses to travel on a different price class, then an economy-class quote must be obtained simultaneously along with the increased class price reservation/purchase to be considered for reimbursement.
  7. All foreign and domestic air travel or mileage must be identified and submitted to NDTO 30 days in advance.
  8. If a pre-approved activity is not completed, the application will be deemed to be withdrawn by Applicant and reimbursement will not take place.


Each application will be acknowledged by email as having been received and submitted for review. Applications should be submitted to NDTO 30 days in advance of the activity start date. Applicant may or may not be contacted by NDTO during the review process to discuss the application. Applications will normally be reviewed within one week of receipt.


For additional questions, please contact email Amanda Nordick at amanda@ndto.com or by calling 701-929-6702.