The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) is pleased to announce a Cochran Fellowship Program exchange opportunity in fiscal year (FY) 2024. Since 1984, the Cochran Fellowship Program has provided short-term training to more than 19,000 participants from 126 countries to help expose agricultural officials and industry representatives to U.S. agriculture products and policies, helping facilitate lasting, global relationships. The goal of the Cochran Fellowship Program is to help eligible countries develop agricultural systems necessary to meet the food and fiber needs of their domestic populations, as well as strengthen and enhance trade linkages with the United States. More information about the Cochran Fellowship Program is available at

Cochran Fellows receive 2-3 weeks of training in the United States in partnership with U.S. universities, government agencies, and private companies. During the training program, fellows may meet with professionals in their fields, participate in industry visits, experience on-the-job training, attend university courses and seminars, and tour agricultural shows or expos. All training occurs in the United States and reflects the philosophy that participants should be provided with sound technical knowledge and the opportunity to test and practice new skills in practical situations. 

Applications must be submitted no later than Friday, 30th of June 2023.

The USDA has approved the below focus area for Cochran Fellowship Program for FY 2024:

  1. Trade Facilitation – Overview of World Trade Organization (WTO) Notifications and Reporting –  This training will help fellows understand what should be reported to the WTO and how. Noting the resource constraints of many countries in this region, the program will include tutorials on the submission process, how to streamline reporting, and how to lower the barriers for timely WTO reporting.  

 Eligibility for the Cochran Fellowship Program:

  1. Citizen of South Africa, Botswana, Mauritius, Namibia, or Seychelles
  2. Proficiency in reading, writing, and speaking in English
  3. Currently employed by the national governments of Botswana, Mauritius, Namibia, Seychelles, or South Africa
  4. Must be a mid-level or senior specialist or administrator working in trade policy and have responsibility for WTO reporting related to food or agriculture
  5. Intention to continue working for the government of their home country for a minimum of two years following return from the United States
  6. Early/mid stage of professional career (2-10 years of experience preferred)
  7. Fellows must be in good physical and mental health. A thorough physical exam is required by a licensed doctor prior to traveling to the United States.

Application Requirements:

  1. Completed application form (attached)
  2. Signed approval from applicant’s home institution
  3. Two letters of recommendation (academic and professional preferred)
  4. Copies of diploma(s) for college/university degree(s) received
  5. Copy of passport identification page

If selected as a Cochran Fellow, the USDA will provide the following:

  1. J1 visa referral (no visa application fee required)
  2. Stipend/travel allowance for hotel accommodations, meals and incidental expenses during the duration of the program
  3. Domestic transportation within the United States as required for the program
  4. Emergency medical insurance

If selected as the Cochran Fellow, you will be responsible for:

  1. Submitting an online application (DS-160) for a U.S. J1 visa
  2. Airfare to and from the United States (including transportation cost to and from the airport in home country)
  3. Medical costs for physical examination before travel to the United States  

For any questions related to the application process, please contact:

Office of Agricultural Affairs, U.S. Embassy Pretoria, South Africa

Pamela Ngqinani or

All applications must be submitted by email no later than Friday, 30th June 2023, to Pamela Ngqinani (

Download Application Form

Share This Post

More To Explore