These impressive numbers are due to a lot of hard work by a lot of people, and it all starts with our farmers and agricultural companies. MDA’s role is to help the farm and food sector identify and develop market opportunities. This role is especially important in southeast Asia, where cultures place great importance on face-to-face communication, and where government officials are seen as important ambassadors for the private sector. We have taken this role to heart, organizing five major trade missions since the beginning of last year. MDA analyses indicate that every dollar we invest in a trade mission yields $120 for the state’s economy.
Of course, Minnesota isn’t the only state pursuing these markets. Every other major ag state is working hard to do the same thing, so we need to keep building on our success if we don’t want to be beaten out by those Hawkeyes, Buckeyes, or Badgers. A team of MDA staff and others just wrapped up a week-long trade development mission to the Philippines and Indonesia – two fast-growing nations in southeast Asia that sometimes get overlooked in the face of more prominent markets such as China and India.
I am particularly thankful that Governor Dayton has a clear understanding of the importance of international trade development, and has expressed strong support for our efforts. During the 2012 trade mission to China, Governor Dayton frequently started out meetings by describing all that Minnesota’s farm and food sector had to offer. His active support is a vital asset that we will continue to look for opportunities to employ.
We don’t know what is in store for 2013 in terms of weather or economics. But I do know Minnesota farmers are in as good a position as any farmers anywhere in the world thanks to their own hard work and the sustained efforts of Minnesota’s commodity organizations, ag groups, MDA and other agencies working on their behalf.
— Commissioner of Agriculture, Dave Frederickson