Monday, December 17, 2012

Hot Sauce Predictions 2013 by Jerry Hingle

A recent blog post by the Penn State Agricultural Entrepreneurship blog shed light on hot sauces and the growing trend we will see in 2013.

"Hot sauce production is one of the 10 fastest-growing industries in the US reports IBISWorld, an industry analysis firm."

The post continues to discuss an increase in hot sauce sales as interest in international cooking grows. Of course, for southern cooks, the interest in hot sauce is nothing new. But as the rest of the world learns to love it, it would be unwise not to take advantage of this growing market.  

To read the entire blog post, visit

CEO and Executive Director
Southern United States Trade Association

Friday, December 14, 2012

Moms on the Farm

A group of wives and mothers in the farming industry hosted a first-ever agricultural event called Moms on the Farm: an initiative to spread awareness on the struggles of everyday Arkansas farmers. With so many small farms closing, the event was created to show Americans the amount of effort and dedication it takes to run a farm and produce our food.

"Our goal was to put the places and faces on agricultre. To make us more than the faceless factory farms that agriculture is always perceived to be..."
         -- Janeal Yancey, Ph.D, Meat Scientist U of A Division of Agriculture

We hope to see more initiatives like this unfold.

Jerry Hingle
CEO and Executive Director
Southern United States Trade Association

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Fresh from Florida: Corn Recipes

The southern U.S. is known for the abundance of fresh fruits and veggies, among them is corn. And while Florida is most famous for their citrus, tall stalks of corn can be found growing in the sunshine state. This holiday season, whether you're buying from Florida or not, try serving local corn at your holiday get together. Here's a great cooking lesson from FreshfromFlorida:

Monday, November 19, 2012

Magic Seasoning Sees Success with SUSTA

A recent story by WDSU News covered Magic Seasoning, a company owned by chef Paul Prudhomme and its success nationally and internationally. The company, located in southeast Louisiana, is finding much success in exporting and expanding their reach to more and more countries. SUSTA received recognition as a major part of Magic Seasoning's export success.

"Anna Zuniga, Magic Seasoning's director of international sales and marketing, said SUSTA's assistance has been vital for its export process....""Otherwise, we wouldn't be able to afford it," said Zuniga. "It's a huge expense but they reimburse 50 percent [for travel], so that's a great help.""

We at SUSTA are thrilled to be part of a great success story like Magic Seasoning. Watch the report here at To learn how you can receive help for exporting activities, visit SUSTA's Services page

CEO and Executive Director
Southern United States Trade Association

Friday, November 09, 2012

West Virginia takes Landscaping to China - Jerry Hingle

Good morning,
Recently there's been very interesting activity in West Virginia, where landscaping has gone from being a hobby to becoming a billion dollar industry in China. For many West Virginia farmers, the Chinese market looks very promising, and we don't want to let that opportunity slide by. The Southern United States Trade Association, in conjunction with the state Department of Agriculture and the West Virginia Nursery and Landscape Association plans to host six Chinese agricultural company delegates to show them the value of W. Virginia green house technology.

"West Virginia has been making a name for itself with marketing and promotion of our farmers that have developed from local activities to full-blown industries," he [state Agriculture Commissioner Gus R. Douglass] said. "Some you see here [at Capitol Market] started out in the back of a pickup truck and now they have commercial greenhouses."

To read the rest of the article, visit

CEO and Executive Director
Southern United States Trade Association

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Infographic: SUSTA MAP Branded Program from Start to Finish

The MAP Branded Program can seem confusing to those who have never participated before. There are many steps involved in the application alone, and more steps to follow once you are accepted. However, the program's benefits and funding far outweigh the initial confusion. Don't be overwhelmed by the process, instead, refer to this infographic to help you stay on target and reap the benefits of being a MAP Branded Program participant. This infographic explains the program from start to finish.

For more details, visit SUSTA's MAP Branded Process page.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

New Video: How to Evaluate a Distributor

In our last video, we showed you the various ways exporters can find importers, distributors and agents. But once you find a distributor, how do you know if they are right for your company? SUSTA has you covered.

Our next video shows you what you need to know in order to properly evaluate your distributor before hiring them. Grab a pen and notepad, and take notes!

For more detailed information on what to look for in a distributor, visit our website:
Evaluating a Distributor |

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Southern United States Trade Association Honored by the USDA

Here at SUSTA, we're always striving to make a difference in the lives of small business owners and farmers in the hopes of creating a stronger southern economy. Day after day our team works hard to help these small businesses flourish, and we are rewarded when we see southern products become successful in overseas markets, and when our efforts are recognized. We are very proud to say that our efforts were recognized this month by the USDA.

"The Southern United States Trade Association (SUSTA) recently was awarded the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s “Secretary’s Honor Award,” the highest award granted by the department, for its role in helping small businesses increase exports of American food and agriculture."

This is the first year that we received an honor such as this, and we are very excited to uphold this recognition by working harder than ever. If you'd like to be a part of this great success, visit our page About the Southern United States Trade Association to learn about all our activities.  

Executive Director and CEO
Southern United States Trade Association 

Read more here:"

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Jerry Hingle on Exporting for Small Farmers

Our Executive Director, Jerry Hingle, was featured on in an interview about the difficulties farmers face when finding the right foreign market for their product. For many small farmers in the south, resources are limited, and the thought of exporting their goods to an unknown foreign market is intimidating. That's when Jerry Hingle proposes seeking SUSTA's help.

"Arkansas is in the middle of a "golden era" of agricultural exports, as its producers are finding markets throughout the world for products such as rice, poultry and cotton, as well as value-added products like sauces and condiments. He said the state has seen a 60 percent increase in exports over the past five years."

Mr. Hingle goes on to explain that China is the top export market for Arkansas:

"'They like our food,' he said, adding the regulations under which food is prepared and imported are more strict than those in place in China, resulting in a higher quality product. 'U.S. food is considered safe and is in demand.' He expects that demand to increase as China's middle class advances."

Read more from the article to learn about the benefits of exporting your small business at: Jerry Hingle on

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Infographic: Overview of the MAP Branded Program

The MAP Branded program can be a little confusing to those who've never encountered it. That's why the Southern United States Trade Association developed an infographic to visually simplify the program and help you to understand eligibility requirements, costs of participating, and funding details.
The MAP Branded Program | Southern United States Trade Association
Browse more on

If you believe you meet all the requirements, and are ready to apply for the MAP Branded Program, visit the MAP Application to get started. Starting August 1st, SUSTA is accepting applications for the 2013 program year.

Or, if you're not quite ready and still want to learn more about this program, visit the MAP Branded program's Frequently Asked Questions page.

Monday, September 17, 2012

USDA Study Highlights Latest Agricultural Trends by Jerry Hingle

The agricultural industry has changed greatly in recent years due to a variety of factors such as public policy, weather, and of course new technologies. The USDA completed a study to find out just what those changes are, and found trends along the way. 

Below are some key findings: 

"From 2004 to 2011, organic food sales more than doubled, from $11 billion to $25 billion, accounting for more than 3.5 percent of all food sales in 2011. In 2008, less than 1 percent of U.S. cropland, pastureland and rangeland were devoted to organic production. However, the percentages are higher for fruit and vegetable crops and for dairy production." 

"Corn, soybean and cotton growers have widely adopted genetically engineered herbicide-tolerant and insect-resistant seeds since 1996. Despite the higher cost for the genetically engineered seed, U.S. farmers are realizing the economic benefits from increased crop yields, lower pesticide costs and reduced management."

"In terms of 2010 dollars, real expenditures for and quantities of pesticide active ingredients declined by an average of 2.4 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively, per year during the years 1996-2007, even though expenditures and quantities applied increased from 2006 to 2007. However, herbicide use increased, with most of that attributed to glyphosate use on herbicide-tolerant crops." 

To learn more about some key findings, read the West Central Tribune's article here

Jerry Hingle
Executive Director
Southern United States Trade Association 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Latest Food Manufacturing News: The FDA Cracks Down

This past week, the Food and Drug Administration issued many warning letters to food manufacturers across the U.S. Some of which include Henrys Farms in Virginia, who had a problem with sprout production, and Chu Minh Corp. in Seattle, a tofu manufacturer who received a warning letter because of "insanitary conditions."

The agency was most concerned with the presence of live birds, insects, and both live and dead rodents in the production areas. They received a 7 page warning letter that addressed each concern. The FDA is cracking down on many food manufacturing companies; it is extremely important that you follow all regulations concerning production, labeling, and sanitation. To familiarize yourself with these regulations, visit the FDA website.

"Food companies that receive warning letters are generally given 15 days to respond to issues raised by the FDA. Sometimes, if the government and the food company reach agreement on how to handle all the issues raised, the FDA will post a "close-out" letter on its website." To read more about which companies received letters this past week, read the article from Food Safety News.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Southern Florida Is Ahead of the Curve - Jerry Hingle

Exports have increased by 20% for the state of Florida within the past year with fruit and vegetable exports reaching almost $800 million. But what is the cause for Florida's success?  

"Demand for U.S. food and agricultural products, including those from South Florida, continues to grow as the middle class in India and Southeast Asian countries expands and requires higher quality proteins and dairy..."  

"In South Florida, businesses have taken advantage of exporting through free trade agreements and are more adept at trading since a lot of business owners come from different countries..." 

Read more about how Florida is taking advantage of the growth overseas in this article featured in the South Florida Business Journal. 

Jerry Hingle 
CEO and Executive Director 
Southern United States Trade Association 

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Jerry Hingle is the Newest Member of WTCNO

Good morning everyone,
The Southern United States Trade Association is proud to announce that our Executive Director, Jerry Hingle, is the newest member of the World Trade Center of New Orleans. Mr. Hingle will be serving on the Board of Directors.

The World Trade Center of New Orleans strives to increase the wealth and jobs in Louisiana through international trade and economic development. Their mission statement is:

"The mission of the World Trade Center is to facilitate on behalf of our members the addition of wealth and jobs in Louisiana through international trade, economic development and allied activities by supporting a prosperous international business climate in Louisiana with advocacy, information, education, and stakeholder programs and services. Implementation of our mission results in the retention, recruitment and expansion of Louisiana-based international businesses, contributing to the state’s overall economic development." --World Trade Center New Orleans

Read the full press release "World Trade Center of New Orleans Welcomes Jerry Hingle."

Monday, July 30, 2012

"You've Got a Whole World out There" - Jerry Hingle

SUSTA strives to make exporting as easy as possible for small businesses. We understand that as a small business, the resources you are most likely lacking are money and expertise necessary to export on your own. Not to worry, the Southern United States Trade Association has both, and we are ready to hand over both our money and our expertise to make your product successful overseas. All you have to do is apply.

Read all about our efforts through the Huntsville Times here:

Jerry Hingle
CEO and Executive Director
Southern United States Trade Association 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Louisiana Ranks 42 in Top States for Business 2012

Louisiana was scored on several measures of competitiveness, including cost of doing business, work force, quality of life, infrastructure and transportation, and technology and innovation.

The Southern United States Trade Association is working hard to make Louisiana a better state by encouraging small business owners to export their food and agriculture.

“We’re here to help American businesses take advantage of this trend by giving them the resources and guidance they need to market their products internationally,” said Jerry Hingle, CEO and Executive Director of SUSTA.

Read more about how SUSTA can offer program funds to help Louisiana:
Southern United States Trade Association Provides Export Funds

Monday, July 23, 2012

"Mississippi's Exports Up 30 Percent" - Jerry Hingle

International trading statistics reveal that exports coming from Mississippi have been moving up over the first four months of 2012. Mississippi businesses have exported $1.1 billion due to poultry, cotton, and wood exports.

It's great news, but we don't want to stop there. Read about how SUSTA is helping Mississippi and other southern states boost that number by providing education and financial assistance to smaller businesses. 

The Southern United States Trade Association Helps Small Businesses Article by Hattiesburg American

Friday, July 20, 2012

How to Locate an Importer in a Foreign Country

For many companies new to exporting, finding and securing a trustworthy importer can be a daunting task. You want to find an importer/agent/distributor who knows the market and is experienced. But securing one can be very difficult if you do not have the proper connections. If you don't have the financial resources or connections to establish a business presence in a foreign market, this video will come in handy: To See more videos about exporting, subscribe to our Youtube Channel! Southern United States Trade Association Youtube

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Trans Pacific Partnership is Good for Louisiana: Jerry Hingle

Louisiana's food and agriculture exports to the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) signatories totaled just under $2 billion last year and are up 52% so far in 2012. And if Japan and Korea join the club, expect it to be an even more important trading block for farmers and ranchers in our state.

Sure, the U.S. already has free trade agreements with many individual countries in this group, but TPP gives us a chance to gain more access as we fix loose ends that got taken off the table when negotiating them. Korea held firm on opening up their rice market; Hopes are that our rice farmers may eventually get another chance ...

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

U.S. Federal Reserve Bank focuses its sights on strong agriculture exports: Interview of SUSTA Executive Director Jerry Hingle

America's agriculture industry is a bright spot among the persistent negative news on the U.S. economy. It's one of the few sectors of the American economy enjoying a healthy trade surplus. We have a great story to tell, and were thrilled to contribute to the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta's glossy quarterly "Econ South".

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Jerry Hingle featured at the European Seafood Exposition

The European Seafood Exposition is the largest seafood expo in the world, and this year on it's 20th anniversary, Southern United States Trade Association was lucky to have five exhibitors on the trade show floor. Held in Brussels, Belgium, this event is a great opportunity for exporters to expand their reach. Each year, exhibitors sell millions of dollars worth of seafood on the trade show floor alone! Watch the video to learn more about this amazing event.

Featured in the video is Christian Foster, Deputy Administrator for the Office of Trade Programs Foreign Agricultural Service, myself (Jerry Hingle, Executive Director of SUSTA), and Colleen Coyne, Coordinator for Food Export U.S.A Seafood Program.

--Jerry Hingle, Executive Director of the Southern United States Trade Association

Monday, May 07, 2012

Exporters Might Need to Tweak American Food - Jerry Hingle

American snack food exports are growing strongly as the world gains more of an appetite for "on-the-go" snacks and busy urban lifestyles leaves less time to cook. But exporters wishing to take advantage of this growing trend should be prepared to reconsider how their product is packaged and flavored. U.S. portion sizes (16oz bags, gallon containers) are usually too big in nearly all export markets due to smaller refrigerators and cupboards.

But here's how an iconic American snack has been tweaked to fit Chinese tastes:

Thursday, May 03, 2012

European Seafood Exhibition THE Mecca for global seafood trade (Posted by Jerry Hingle, SUSTA Executive Director)

SUSTA, along with the states of Maryland, Virginia, and Florida, exhibited at last week's European Seafood Exhibition in Brussels, Belgium. The event is among the world’s leading gatherings of the seafood industry, with over 1,600 exhibiting companies from over 80 countries. It is one of SUSTA’s top five “must do” trade shows and export sales at the three-day event far exceed sales at any other SUSTA activity. The five companies exhibiting at our pavilion typically sell more than $30 million as a direct result of being at the show.

Our pavilion, located within prime location of the USA pavilion, was staffed by Steve Vilnit (Maryland) and Paul Davis (Florida). Mike Hutt also attended under the sponsorship of the state of Virginia. They all did a superb job at handling enquiries and trade leads, which numbered over 25.

Unlike many generalist food trade shows, ESE is a gathering of tenured and experienced seafood traders. The show is must for any seafood seller wishing to export. Registration for booth space at next year's show are expected to open in October 2012 -- Be sure to sign up quickly as space sells out fast.

Justin Timineri, Executive Chef on loan from the Florida Ag. Department, did a great job at displaying and cooking samples of shrimp, scallops, lobster, and other product available from the companies exhibiting with us.