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State Agriculture Director Continues China Trade Missions

Agency: Agriculture and Rural Development

For immediate release: September 13, 2018 Media contact: Jessy Sielski, 517-284-5725 Program contact: Jamie Zmitko-Somers, 517-284-5738

Lansing – Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Director Gordon Wenk will continue the department’s work with Michigan businesses when he leads a trade mission to Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou, China, September 17-21, 2018. This mission will allow Michigan food and agricultural companies to be immersed in the local food industry, while connecting with qualified Chinese buyers. The mission will include 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. “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 include 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 firsthand the market potential and to meet face-to-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



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