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Eye On Boise

Trade mission to Latin America reports sales, leads for Idaho businesses

Idaho's delegation has returned from a trade mission to Mexico and Brazil and reports "tremendous interest and opportunities in both countries for Idaho products and services," says Lt. Gov. Brad Little, who led the mission. Seventeen Idaho businesses or organizations participated, from Mountain States Oilseeds, which reported that it secured agreements for five more semi-truck loads of mustard seed to be exported to Mexico, to Ground Force Manufacturing, which reported a $1 million sale and additional likely sales over the next two years of up to $12 million from contacts made on the trade mission. Click below for the state's full announcement; Idaho's next trade mission will be to China in April 2012.

Idaho Department of Commerce ~ Idaho Department of Agriculture


Date:  December 14, 2011


Trade Mission to Latin America Generates $30 million

in Projected Sales for Idaho Exporters


Boise, Idaho – Idaho businesses are projected to realize more than $30 million in sales as a result of a trade mission to Latin America this month led by Lieutenant Governor Brad Little.

Seventeen Idaho companies and organizations joined the December 3-10 trade mission, which included visits to São Paulo, Brazil and Mexico City, Mexico. 

“We found tremendous interest and opportunities in both countries for Idaho products and services,” Lieutenant Governor Little said. “Exports are essential to Idaho’s economy and Latin America is an important trading partner for Idaho.  This trip strengthened key trade relationships and established new customers for Idaho businesses.”

Lieutenant Governor Little’s involvement in the trade mission helped to secure higher level business meetings with key buyers that Idaho companies could not have achieved on their own.

“Gaining direct access to CEO’s of leading international companies is a powerful benefit of these trade missions.  The companies now know what Idaho can deliver and we have solid personal relationships we can build upon,” said Jeffery Sayer, director of the Idaho Department of Commerce.

Jason Godfrey, President of Mountain States Oilseeds, expects to send at least five more semi-truck loads of mustard seed – approximately 210,000 pounds – to a Mexican importer as a direct result of the mission.

Lorell Skogsberg, a board member for the Idaho Bean Commission (IBC), said, “The IBC is confident there will be seed sales as a result of this trade mission. Every vendor we met with would like to do business with and be a partner of the IBC.  Because of Idaho’s reputation and history of quality, Idaho seed is well known and respected in Mexico.”

Ron Nilson, president and CEO of Post Falls-based Ground Force Manufacturing, said, “We appreciate our state government’s foresight to put on these trade missions. We now have been on four different trade missions and each has proven fruitful in building relationships with countries and customers. Over time, these new relationships and territories have become a major portion of our company’s business.”

In Mexico alone, Ground Force received a purchase order for a $1 million sale.  The company anticipates additional sales of $8-12 million over the next two years from contacts made during the mission.

Both Brazil and Mexico are important export markets for Idaho. Brazil was Idaho’s 19th largest export destination in 2010, with exports totaling more than $17.6 million.  For Nampa-based Industrial Ventilation (IVI), the mission was an important opportunity to explore a new market. 

“Our company joined a state of Idaho mission to Latin America in 2002 and we were able to establish a distributor and more than $5 million in direct sales,” says Mike Machurek, sales and marketing manager for IVI.  “We see Brazil as an attractive market for our products and we expect similar results over the next few years.”

Mexico is Idaho’s 7th largest export destination and the states 2nd largest agriculture export market. In 2010, exports to Mexico were valued at more than $185.6 million. 

“The Mexican market is our second largest export market, we have been in the market for more than 6 years, and each mission continues to result in strong business partnerships, ultimately leading to sales for our producers,” said Amanda Albers, International Marketing manager for the Idaho Potato Commission.  

“It is by far our largest potential market and these trips prepare us for the inevitable opening to US potatoes and our ability to maximize that potential,” added Seth Pemsler, vice president, Retail and International, for the Idaho Potato Commission.

“Going to Mexico as a member of the trade mission helped us put the security situation in perspective and assess conditions on the ground,” said Jonathan Price, International Sales manager for Pickett Equipment in Burley.  “Had we not signed up for the mission, I don’t think we would have looked as seriously at Mexico as an attractive market for our equipment.” 

Pickett Equipment teamed with the Idaho Bean Commission to expand the existing sales of Idaho bean seed to include sales of bean harvesting equipment to Mexico.

Mark Gabrylczyk, a representative of Nonpareil, commented, “This trade mission was exciting in terms of possibilities and has showed us that Mexico is indeed a market for our products.”

Participants in the Idaho mission to Latin America included:  5B Investments, Glanbia Foods, Great American Appetizers, Ground Force Manufacturing, Idaho Bean Commission, Idaho Farm Bureau, Idaho Potato Commission, Industrial Ventilation, Mountain States Oilseeds, Nonpareil/Teton Valley Ranch, Pickett Equipment, Powder Systems Limited, Premier Technology, Inc., Smart Leadership Solutions, University of Idaho College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, Zion’s Bank, and Capital Press. This is the first trade mission to Latin America since 2008.

The trade mission was jointly organized by the Idaho State Department of Agriculture and the Idaho State Department of Commerce.  The next trade mission will be to China in April 2012.

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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