Frequently Asked Questions and the mark and standard associated with it were developed by the Specialty Soya and Grains Alliance, a national trade association of businesses and farmers involved in traceable, premium grains and oilseeds. The project was financed by a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service’s Agricultural Trade Promotion program and our allied partner, the U.S. Soybean Export Council. Funding has also come from Qualified State Soybean Boards in Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin. We are joined by various U.S. crop improvement and Identity Preserved state and federal agencies to guarantee the program’s integrity.
The Specialty Soya and Grains Alliance manages this program. You do not need to be a member of SSGA to use the brand, but membership can go a long way in supporting this program. is open to all exporters of U.S. grains and oilseeds, provided they meet certain criteria, including a written, verifiable Identity Preserved plan. As well, associations supporting these exporters also are welcome to join as “IP Allies.” Indicate which of the two categories you are applying under when you join.
Your company adds value by creating a safe, verifiable product – grown with the customer in mind – for a food manufacturer abroad. You should get credit for that effort as well as help explaining to your customers that the U.S. Identity Preserved plan you utilize delivers quality as promised. pulls together the variety of Identity Preserved plans in one place, joining the United States together in growing and exporting with the purpose of ensuring that quality moves from the farm to the fork.
Well, yes. The United States pursues market-based solutions for market opportunities. Funds collected go back into promoting Identity Preserved attributes and advantages and match the investments from grant makers. Your status as a mark user is renewable each year with additional verification of your IP plan. You may be entitled to a membership discount through an allied association. Check with us. We are happy to work with associations to create a member-benefit plan. SSGA invites stakeholders, allies and mark users to a meeting annually to review the standard and the mark’s uses.
Apply here at, and we will contact you to review your Identity Preserved plan. If you don’t have one, we can help you make one. An important component of our work is verifying you have independent, separate audits or inspections in place that justify the trust given to you to preserve the identity of the grains you sell. Customers must be assured that our mark stands for trust. It does – with your help. Work with us to verify your IP program and follow the steps that will help you gain and keep customers with your hard work.
Your company may place the mark on your packaging, media (including social media), business cards, letterhead, or marketing materials, such as trade show signage. With permission and additional information, some of your clients may be able to use the mark as well, promoting their use of U.S. origin-sourced grains and oilseeds. If you choose to extend the mark to a customer, fill out the relevant information for us to review. Your promotional costs may be eligible for USDA’s foreign market development branded programs.
USDA operates a foreign market development program for U.S. companies that can share the costs of your promotions abroad, including packaging, business signage and other eligible activities. has partnered with Food Export Midwest, a USDA-authorized state/regional trade group to seamlessly use the mark in your business export promotions. Get registered and verified with us; then get busy gaining help from Food Export Midwest to see if you qualify.
Yes, the standard is designed to be used as a grain contract addendum if you and the buyer choose. A recommended addendum is available to registered users.
Your association representatives and the U.S. government remain vigilant and work hard to prevent or overcome non-tariff barriers abroad to U.S. origin field crops. Presently there are several market circumstances in which an Identity Preserved work plan can provide a market access solution. There are some specific instances in which the mark might create a benefit or pathway to export. Contact us for more information.
Your U.S. Identity Preserved Assurance Plan will be renewed through annual verification and payment. However, if your process and protocol change, or if there are deviations from your original written protocol presented to the program manager (SSGA), you must notify the manager to insure the program still complies with the basic guidelines of the mark.
Some of your products may not be identity preserved and that is OK! We applaud diversity in business and agriculture. However, Identity Preserved is unique and special, requiring extra attention. Only the products that are produced, handled, processed and shipped under your verified Identity Preserved plan can be identified with the mark.
Not necessarily. Your process just needs to be verifiable and in line with one of our approved auditing agencies.
Any grain or oilseed produced and processed within the United States and within your U.S. company can apply for the program. Keep in mind that a product does need to have an identifiable characteristic or variety maintained, verified and segregated through all steps of production and transportation to be considered Identity Preserved.
Through the U.S. Identity Preserved Assurance Plan, the mark does provide assurance that the IP product is traceable and that it is U.S. grown. However, the quality and specifications are up to negotiations between the Verified Mark User and its growers and customers.
Shipping in bulk doesn’t mean a product can’t be traceable. However, careful attention is required in the cleaning of all storage and/or transportation units, recording any commingling of lots and having the ability to trace all records of movement, including documenting all identification numbers of vehicles transporting the IP product.
The market is rapidly changing from commodity-based trade to value-enhanced crops which require some system of segregation from their commodity counterparts that also provides verification of the steps involved.
Commodity crops are produced, processed or sold for general uses. Often many varieties are commingled from multiple sources. These are often of a No. 2 grade, but not always. Prices for most traded grains and soybeans sold as commodity are set on an open exchange, such as the Chicago Board of Trade. Identity Preserved crops have had their identifiable traits maintained through all steps of production and transportation to the end-user using an IP system or process. Variety, production method and price are usually established by contract. IP crops are segregated and defined by variety, type, modification, region of origin, or growing practice.
Traceability is the key to an IP system – each step of production, processing and delivery is documented so that products can be traced from the field to the processor to the final production and sale. Growers and processors must follow strict growing and handling practices including segregation inspections and cleaning of equipment to prevent other varieties and foreign materials from mixing or contaminating the IP varieties.