Indiana is sharpening its focus on growing the state’s agriculture industry internationally. The Indiana State Department of Agriculture is strengthening its partnership with the Food Export Association of the Midwest USA, which it says will pave new roads to international markets for Indiana ag companies. The collaboration offers businesses services like the Branded Program, which provides 50 percent cost reimbursement for several international marketing activities.
Efforts covered by the Branded Program include fees for overseas trade shows, product demonstrations, freight cost for samples and label modifications. ISDA Interim Director Melissa Rekeweg says the initiative will increase access to international markets and "strengthen trade between local food suppliers and importers around the world."
The department says Food Export Midwest can also help with "deep dives" into particular markets and provides a help line to companies looking to enter the global market.
The ISDA has hired Robert Warner as its international trade program manager. He previously served as the Indiana Economic Development Corp.’s small business ombudsman. His duties will include organizing trade missions, hosting international buyers and representing Indiana ag companies at domestic and international trade shows.
Warner tells Inside INdiana Business he will let companies drive what markets they want to enter. He says the strongest interest tends to be in emerging markets with new demand. While Europe is a saturated market, says Warner, companies may look to countries like Singapore and Columbia that may provide new opportunities.