LANSING, MI – Each year, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) recognizes Michigan’s leading food and agriculture exporter by presenting a ‘Michigan Ag Exporter of the Year’ award to a deserving Michigan company.
The goal of the award is to recognize outstanding companies for their work to increase exports of Michigan products to countries around the world. Applications are due by close of business on Friday, March 6.
Companies of all sizes are encouraged to apply. Eligibility is limited to Michigan food and agriculture producers, manufacturers or shippers of good reputation and good standing in the business community, who are aggressively pursuing international markets and increasing export sales. Products must be over 50 percent grown, processed or manufactured in Michigan.
Companies with headquarters in other states but production facilities in Michigan are invited to apply on the basis of their Michigan-made exports. Past recipients of the “Michigan Agricultural Exporter of the Year” award are eligible to apply five years after their initial award if they have increased their exports or expanded into new markets.
The winner of the Michigan Ag Exporter of the Year Award is selected by industry representatives on the basis of export growth, innovation, and the pursuit of new export markets.
International markets continue to be a growing source of business for Michigan’s food and agricultural companies. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) figures show a steady increase in Michigan’s overall food and agricultural exports in 2012, reaching $3.2 billion annually – increasing 3.4 percent from the prior year. Exports are approaching a level that has nearly doubled since 2010, in line with Governor Rick Snyder’s goal to double agricultural exports by 2015 to $3.5 billion.
The 2014 Michigan Agriculture Exporter of the Year honor went to Continental Dairy Facilities LLC of Coopersville, MI. Continental Dairy Facilities processes raw milk from West Michigan farms and produces several products, including nonfat dried milk, which is shipped globally.
The company sold their products domestically and in Mexico in 2012; and then increased exports by a staggering 706 percent in 2013 reaching new markets in Southeast Asia, the Middle East and North Africa. This rapid growth positioned them as a leading milk exporter. In 2013, five percent of all U.S. milk powder products were exported by Continental Dairy.
If your company has experienced export success during 2014, consider applying for this award. For more information and an application visit, www.michigan.gov/agexport or contact Jamie Zmitko-Somers at email@example.com or at 517-284-5738.