2018-10-11 / Opinions

State ag director continues china trade missions

LANSING - Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Director Gordon Wenk continued the department’s work with Michigan businesses, leading a trade mission to Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou, China, (Sept. 17-21, 2018). The mission allowed Michigan food and agricultural companies to be immersed in the local food industry, while connecting with qualified Chinese buyers. The mission included one-on-one meetings, retail tours and briefings with U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials within the country.

“I’m very excited to make my first trip to China and lead a trade mission to an ever-expanding export market,” said Wenk before departure. “China’s middle class continues to demand high-quality food products from the U.S., which provides great potential for Michigan food and agriculture companies.”

Returning companies from the 2017 China Trade Mission include Shoreline Fruit Growers Inc., Graceland Fruit and Cherry Central.

Also participating in this year’s trade mission: Dave’s Sweet Tooth, a producer of handmade toffee; Journeyman Distillery, which prides itself on handcrafted artisan spirits; Peterson Farms Inc., a leading processor of fresh-cut apples; the Michigan Corn Marketing Program; and the Michigan Potato Industry Commission.

In 2017, Michigan food and agriculture exports to China totaled more than $67 million.

“Traveling to China provides companies an opportunity to see first-hand the market potential and to meet faceto face with key buyers,” stated Jamie Zmitko-Somers, manager of MDARD’s International Marketing Program.

Companies participating in the 2017 trade mission projected a nearly $1 million export sales increase within 6-12 months as a direct result of participating in the trade mission. In addition, more than 80 new buyer contacts were established.

For more information, contact Jamie Zmitko-Somers at 517-284-5738 or zmitkoj@michigan.gov.

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