Michigan’s economy is reinforced by the global export market, with food and agriculture exports creating a $3.2 billion industry and supporting over 20,000 jobs. Exports of consumer food products are growing three times faster than sales in the United States due to foreign consumers’ growing purchasing power and lower trade barriers. Exporting is an essential way for Michigan companies to increase sales and profits by tapping into a far greater consumer market.

Michigan’s largest export markets, Canada, Mexico, Japan, South Korea, and China, continue to offer a wealth of opportunities for Michigan food and agriculture companies with their diverse and growing consumer base. In order to reach into these markets, companies need to connect with international buyers, build a strong knowledge base from market research and export seminars, and participate in trade missions.

With 2015 just a few months away, companies should begin strategizing upcoming exporting plans and opportunities. The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development’s (MDARD) International Marketing Program, in partnership with the Food Export Association of the Midwest, assists Michigan companies with international trade opportunities through a variety of programs and services that target overseas markets and export education.

The 2015 calendar of events is packed with great opportunities for food and agriculture companies. Here is a small sampling of upcoming activities:

Feb 4-6: Focused Trade Mission to Canada for Retail, Food Service and Specialty Products
Feb 10: Export Seminar with featured speaker 2014 Michigan Agriculture Exporter of the Year
Feb 23-26: Trade Mission to Colombia and Dominican Republic
May 16-19: Michigan Pavilion and Food Service Buyers Mission at the National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago
July 15-17: Focused Trade Mission to Northern China
September 9-10: Focused Trade Mission to Canada for Specialty and Natural Products 
October 10-14: Anuga Food Fair in Cologne, Germany

These events are excellent methods for companies to develop and expand export sales. For funding of international marketing activities, eligible food companies can look to the Branded Program’s 50% cost-share reimbursement program.

Companies interested in learning more about 2015 export activities can visit, or contact Jamie Zmitko-Somers, International Marketing Manager, at (517)-284-5738 or Follow the International Marketing Program on Twitter and Facebook.

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