FRANKENMUTH, MI - There is an increasing demand for Michigan grown and produced food and agriculture products from across the globe as income levels around the world continue to grow.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nToday, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Director Jamie Clover Adams celebrated a local company experiencing international business expansion. Clover Adams honored Star of the West Milling Company, of Frankenmuth, as the 2015 Michigan Agriculture Exporter of the Year.\r\nThe company has a rich Michigan history, established in 1870 and began exporting in the early 1970\u2019s. The privately held corporation expanded over the years to include five flour mills and 13 grain and bean elevators. A major export for the company is dry beans, including black, navy, and small red varieties, as well as edible soybeans, and soft white and soft red winter wheat.\r\n\u201cStar of the West exemplifies the high caliber of businesses in Michigan and I am honored to recognize them for their commitment to Michigan and for their international business achievement,\u201d said Clover Adams. \u201cThey have been longstanding competitor in the export market and are certainly a part of the continued growth in Michigan\u2019s food and agriculture industry.\u201d\r\nStar of the West Milling Co. achieved an impressive 27 percent growth in export sales from 2013-2014. The company exports to Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, Jamaica, Japan, Malta, and South Korea. Most recently they expanded export activity into Italy, South Africa, and Columbia.\r\n\u201cStar of the West is pleased to be recognized with the 2015 Michigan Agriculture Exporter of the Year award,\u201d said Star of the West president Arthur Loeffler. \u201cThis award is a reflection of the Star\u2019s commitment to partner with food producers and processors to provide quality flour, edible soybeans and dry edible bean products to help feed the world.\u201d\r\nMichigan is currently second in the nation for agricultural diversity, producing over 300 agricultural commodities, exporting one-third of those commodities every year. Michigan food and agriculture exports totaled $3.53 billion in 2013 according to USDA figures and employ more than 29,000 residents.\r\nThe award review committee consisted of representatives from Foster, Swift, Collins & Smith P.C., Van Andel Global Trade Center, Comerica Bank, Michigan Farm Bureau and Michigan State University\u2019s International Business Center. The decision was based upon several factors including marketing plans, ability to expand into new markets, alliances with other organizations, and exports sales growth over the last three years. To be eligible, the products must be more than 50 percent grown, processed or manufactured in Michigan.\r\nFor information on MDARD's International Marketing Program, contact Jamie Zmitko-Somers at 517-284-5738 or visit Michigan.gov\/agexport.