Frequently Asked Questions

If your company is interested in exporting, a number of questions have probably come to mind. This section addresses some of the most frequently asked questions including where to find market information as well as exporting and certification documents that may be required. If you have any additional questions please call (573) 751-4211 or email

I'm interested in exporting agricultural products. What are some of the first things I should do?

Food Export Midwest publishes an excellent guide for new-to-export agricultural concerns titled Getting Started - Exporter Education. It is available online at:

What are some of the first contacts I should make?

The Missouri Department of Agriculture has a dedicated international trade staff to help exporters. Contact us at: or call us at (573) 751-4211.

Food Export Association of the Midwest USA is a non-profit organization that promotes the export of food and agricultural products from the Midwestern region of the United States. The organization has been helping U.S. suppliers of Midwestern food and agricultural products sell their products overseas since 1969, when it was first created as a cooperative effort between 12 Midwestern state agricultural promotion agencies and the United States Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agricultural Service.

The Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) is the USDA agency responsible for assisting agricultural export efforts. Through its Washington-based staff of analysts and worldwide network of agricultural attachés and trade officers, FAS provides a variety of services that can help any exporter, whether new to market or an old hand.

Where can I find foreign markets information?

USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service offers reports categorized by topics, commodities and countries.

USDA FAS Trade Data and Analysis allows access to various databases, quarterly export sales forecasts, attache reports and international agricultural trade reports.

USDA Economic Research Service offers reports on various topics such as food safety, global food markets, global food security and trade policy.

CIA World Factbook offers information on the history, people, government, economy and transnational issues for the 267 world entities.

Euromonitor International is the world's leading independent provider of strategic market research. It generates data and analysis on thousands of products and services around the world. offers market research and trade events and leads for U.S. agribusiness companies.

Do I need a license for selling overseas?

In general, exporters of food and agricultural products do not need a license from the U.S. government to export overseas. However, in some countries, the foreign importer must have a valid import license to bring in products.

What state and federal programs are there to assist U.S. Exporters with international trade events and marketing financial assistance?

A host of programs exist to help U.S. exporters succeed internationally, including the Market Access Program, the Export Enhancement Program, and the Emerging Markets Program. For information about these and more federal assistance programs:

How can I get information about requirements for exporting meat (poultry, pork, beef, goat, etc.) to specific countries?

The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) is a nonprofit trade association working to create new opportunities and develop existing international markets for U.S. beef, pork, lamb and veal. Headquartered in Denver, USMEF has offices in Seoul, Tokyo, Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore, Taipei, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Mexico City, Monterrey and Brussels. USMEF also has special market representatives covering China, the Middle East, Central and South America and the Caribbean.

USDA's Food Safety Inspection Service maintains a Library of Export Requirements that provides a country-by-country explanation of requirements for exporting most U.S. meat products. In general, meat products for export must come from a USDA-inspected processing facility.

What export documents does the Missouri Department of Agriculture issue?

  • Phytosanitary Certificates
  • Certificates of Free Sale
  • Certificate of Health and Sanitary
  • Certificate of Non-GMO
  • Certificate of GMP

What is a phytosanitary certificate? Where can I get them?

A phytosanitary certificate is a document certifying that particular crops meet the standards or requirements for entry into certain countries.

Missouri exporters can get a phytosanitary certificate by contacting the Plant Industries Division at the Missouri Department of Agriculture (573) 751-0005.

Learn more about the certificates by visiting: