Representatives from state departments of agriculture and the U.S. Department of Agriculture visit Yamazaki Baking Company
BAKING COMPANY VISIT: Representatives from state departments of agriculture and USDA participated in a trade mission to Japan in June, including a visit to the Yamazaki Baking Company in Kobe.

Kansas ag officials part of USDA trade mission to Japan

Two officials from Kansas Department of Ag join USDA trade mission to Japan.

Two representatives from the Kansas Department of Agriculture traveled to Japan on an agribusiness trade mission led by Ted McKinney, USDA undersecretary for trade and foreign agricultural affairs. The trade mission, which was the largest-ever USDA-led trade mission, included representatives from state departments of agriculture as well as private agribusinesses.

"Japan is already a top market for U.S. farm and food products, but there are many new opportunities still waiting to be tapped there," McKinney says. "Japan is an import-dependent economy and its 130 million consumers have a real affinity for U.S. food products because of their quality, affordability and safety. I’m eager to return to Japan and continue exploring all the ways we can grow U.S. agricultural exports there."

Kansas was represented by Mary Soukup, KDA assistant secretary, and Chad Bontrager, director of the KDA agribusiness development division. The purpose of this mission was to strengthen the relationship between Kansas agriculture and Japan and explore potential new markets. Japan is among the top export markets for Kansas agriculture. In 2017, Kansas exported nearly $723 million in agricultural products to Japan.

TRADE MISSION: State and federal agriculture representatives participated in a trade mission to Japan. Shown here are, from left, Chad Bontrager, Kansas Department of Agriculture; Mary Soukup, KDA; Ted McKinney, USDA undersecretary for trade and foreign agricultural affairs; and Mat Habrock, Nebraska Department of Agriculture.

The trade mission delegation had the opportunity to meet with Ken Saito, minister of agriculture, forestry and fisheries, and other MAFF leaders. In addition, they visited food and agriculture retail and processing operations to gain a better understanding of how U.S. agricultural products are used in Japan. They visited Glicopia Chiba Factory, Kikkoman Noda, Yamazaki Kobe and Kirin Beer Kobe.

"Japan is an important partner for Kansas and the entire United States," Soukup says. "This trip provided us an important opportunity to meet firsthand with leaders in government and with companies that rely on agricultural products in their businesses. It was exciting to see Kansas products being used and to explore opportunities to strengthen our relationship with Japan."

KDA strives to encourage and enhance economic growth of the agriculture industry and the Kansas economy by exploring and expanding both domestic and international marketing opportunities. For information on this or other international trade missions, please contact Suzanne Ryan-Numrich at [email protected] or 785-564-6704.

Source: Kansas Department of Agriculture

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