Trade Mission to Canada

Posted on Jul 30, 2018

 

KFB participates in trade mission to Kentucky’s biggest export market

For the first time ever, an agriculture-only trade mission to Canada took place recently, organized by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) and the World Trade Center Kentucky. The trip, sponsored by Kentucky Farm Bureau, Masterfeeds/Alltech, the Kentucky Distillers’ Association, and the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association, sent an agriculture delegation to Toronto and Guelph to meet with officials there along with U.S. Ambassador to Canada Kelly Craft. 

That Kentucky delegation was comprised of several state ag officials including Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles and KFB First Vice President Eddie Melton.

KFB First Vice President Eddie Melton, right, met with Ontario Federation of Agriculture President Keith Currie during the trade mission trip.

Quarles said the trip enabled the group to strengthen relationships with our friends to the north.

“It’s important to realize that Kentucky’s agriculture depends on international trade,” he said. “Half of our soybeans go overseas, a quarter of our corn and 80 percent of our tobacco. We decided to go to Canada first because we have great trading relationships with them plus with the re-negotiations of NAFTA on the horizon, it’s important, at the state level, we have a strong presence.”

Quarles said the trip was highlighted by the presence of Craft, a Kentucky “farm girl” herself.

“She generously spent two days with us, opening doors to a Canadian network of agri-businesses, political leaders and people in the academic world who can help collaborate research between Kentucky State University, the University of Kentucky and the University of Guelph,” he said.

Melton said such a trip is important to Kentucky farm families in that it shores up relationships with customers outside of the U.S.

“We need our international customers and meeting with officials in Canada helped us in our efforts to fortify existing markets and create new ones,” he said. “We should never understate the importance of international trade nor should we take for granted the relationships we have with countries like Canada.”

Melton added in meeting with our trading neighbors, it’s good to let them know how much we want to continue these trade relationships.

Both Quarles and Melton agreed that the trip was a complete success.

“The Canadians were impressed that a state-level delegation made the trip and they were also impressed with the number of Kentucky grown ag products already existing in that part of Canada,” said Quarles. “Regardless of what happens with trade negotiations or tariffs, we feel Kentucky’s presence in Canada this summer couldn’t have come at a better time and the results speak for themselves because we came home with some substantial wins.”

Melton said the mission demonstrates how positive collaboration results in positive outcomes.

“This trip was a success because the agriculture related organizations in this state work so well together and when we work together great things can be accomplished,” he said. “We know that, and I think our Canadian friends see that now, as well. We are open for business and we want Canada and the rest of the world to know it.”