Little: Virtual Trade Mission Benefits Idaho Ag Economy

Idaho Governor Brad Little says he is starting to see early, positive results from the state’s recent virtual trade mission to Mexico. Little noted that Mexico is Idaho’s fourth largest export destination, accounting for the purchase of nearly $225 million in Idaho products last year alone, with much of that coming from agriculture and food processing. He said with the pandemic bringing trade missions and travel to a standstill in 2020, it was important the state find other ways to keep the lines of communication open.

“We don’t’ want to disrupt the relationship we’ve got between existing businesses and Mexico, and we want to do the introductory work for new products, new commodities, new services, and make those connections.  The most redeeming thing about it was the speed with which we could do meetings, instead of in a car down in Mexico City or Guadalajara going from place to place.”

Dairy, beans, beef, fresh produce, ag-tech were just a few of the Idaho industries that participated in April’s virtual trade mission. Little said not only did the virtual trade mission help strengthen the relationships Idaho businesses have with customers in Mexico, it also help businesses in the Gem State improve their relationships with each other.

“You know, there’s a lot of chemistry that takes place getting prepared for them, putting things together between Idaho companies.”

The Governor said his hope is the state can coordinate a trade mission, in some form, to Asia in the not too distant future.

Here are a few of the comments from participants in last month’s virtual trade mission:

“Although we are already established in Mexico, the mission helped us open some new doors for business. We are already setting up some additional follow-up meetings with potential customers and made some good contacts. Long term, we are looking at moving some of the MPC 70 from our expansion towards the Mexico market over the next year. The staff we worked with did an amazing job of facilitating and setting up the meetings, and overall it was a success.”  – Randy Robinson, High Desert Milk

“The trade mission has been a great success for Ramper Innovations, with new connections in a new region where the market has a strong potential. We sincerely appreciate the opportunity that the Governor’s virtual trade mission has brought to Ramper Innovations. Governor Little and Director Kealey’s direct involvement helped us get to the decision-makers quickly and effectively.” – Chris Stock, Ramper Innovations Inc. 

“The Governor’s mission was truly helpful. While we have approached HEB in the past, this meeting was crucial in getting HEB interested in Idaho products, giving us the opportunity to present product and pricing for their specific needs. We are now in the process of introducing HEB to the higher end products from Idaho, with a high possibility of success” – Ruben Santiago Chavarria Mendiola, Atlantic Prime, Distributor for Agri Beef Co.

“We had informative, forward-looking meetings with potential partners and customers that are a good match with Encoder Products Company’s (EPC) capabilities and market focus. One of these prospects, a machine builder/system integrator, has already received a quote from (EPC) for an active project.”  – Dave Wilson, Encoder Products Company

We are very grateful with the work done by the Idaho-Mexico team. Thanks to their efforts, Cremeria San Jose and Qualtia Foods have formally opened their doors to our products with a clear intention to buy. This has been a great accomplishment as a result of this mission. Additionally, Schreiber Foods International has significantly increased their monthly volume of products from the Gooding, Idaho, facility. We are very thankful for these results, recognizing the excellent teamwork.” – Cesar Peredo, Glanbia Nutritionals

“We were pleasantly surprised that the Idaho Mexico Trade Office staff were able to successfully identify and schedule meetings for us with not just a few but seven very diverse companies qualified to introduce our new EdTech product, databot™, to the Mexican market. Although it is too early to tell what these relationships will ultimately produce, the companies and individuals appear to be an excellent fit for our needs and we are already scheduling follow-up meetings. The opportunity in Mexico for education products is significant and we’re excited to pursue this expansion.” – Databot, Robert Grover

“We believe that we may be able to market an additional 4 million to 8 million pounds of product into Mexico as a direct result of this mission. It is likely that we may be able to sell additional product, but our philosophy is that slow and steady wins the race! Overall, this mission was well planned, well thought out and well executed. We highly enjoyed getting to know these companies over the Zoom platform and it worked very well for establishing legitimacy and overall beneficial relationships. We couldn’t have done this without the support of the Governor’s office.” – Kacy Gehring, Mountain States Oilseeds

The meetings went great! These would be my first exports to the Mexican market.  I would estimate potential sales in the 2021 calendar year as a direct result of participating in this trade mission at $30,000, with much higher values possible in future years after we have established our systems specific to Mexican exports.” – Seth Christensen, Christensen Genetics

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