International Trade and Domestic Market Development

The mission of the Market Development program is to “promote Idaho’s food and agriculture industry by expanding opportunities in domestic and foreign markets fostering industry growth and profitability.” Much of this is accomplished by providing direct assistance to farmers, ranchers, shippers and processors in establishing new customers for their products.

International Market Development

Developing international buyer contacts continues to be a priority for the division. With 96 percent of the world’s consumers outside of the U.S., international markets are an important target for increasing sales and generating economic growth. Idaho’s top agricultural export markets in 2009 were Canada, Mexico and Japan.

Gov Otter w/Chinese Customers Idaho ’s fifth largest agricultural export market - China - is one of the fastest growing. Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter led a trade mission to China June 4 – 12, 2010 with stops in Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou. A total of 18 organizations participated in the mission with 9 from the agricultural sector.

The Governor’s involvement in these missions has proven key to their success by opening doors to top management in targeted companies.  Initial sales results are still pending but feedback has been very positive with expected outcomes including additional sales, the signing of new distributors, and potential investment in Idaho.

The division has coordinated a WUSATA Yellow Onion Promotion in Mexico for the last few years that continues to provide sales opportunities for Idaho shippers. The FY2010 promotion resulted in $6.4 million in sales with $3.2 million from Idaho.

The division works closely with producers providing individualized assistance in developing new markets. One producer reported that export sales of organic table grapes increased significantly to Taiwan and Singapore and now represent 50 percent of total production. Because of their market knowledge and research, buyer contacts and general export assistance the Market Development Section and Overseas Trade Office Managers have been critical resources to expanding exports.

The Idaho Mexico Trade Office also provides matchmaking services, conducts one-on-one counseling sessions, provides market intelligence, conducts trade events and identifies foreign direct investment opportunities for Idaho. FY2010 projects included dry milk, bean seed, wheat, dehydrated potatoes, onions, processed foods and pet food.

Further, the division hosted numerous trade teams throughout the year from Canada, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Southeast Asia, Korea, China, Mexico and Japan. Additional highlights included sponsoring workshops specifically on Exporting Wine, Exporting Nursery Products to Canada, and Export Readiness training.

Export Certification

During FY2010, the division issued 2,158 Certificates of Free Sale to facilitate trade in processed products. Certificates are often required by importing countries and must accompany the export shipment in order for it to clear customs.

Idaho Preferred ®
Idaho Preferred logo

Idaho Preferred ®, the division’s primary domestic program, continues to expand, providing valuable marketing assistance to over 210 Idaho farmers, ranchers, processors, nurseries, specialty food companies and farmers markets.

Retail partnerships are a critical component of the Idaho Preferred ® program. Currently 16 grocery stores/chains and 24 farmers markets identify locally grown products with the Idaho Preferred ® logo in ads, signage and at point of sale. Foodservice promotions recognize restaurants that include and identify Idaho Preferred ® items on their menus and help producers find new markets for their products. Chefs were the target at “Farmer-Chef Collaboratives” in Moscow and Sun Valley. Twenty-five restaurants from across the state met face-to-face with 40 producers to source local products for their restaurants. As a result, many restaurants have adopted seasonal menus and continue to feature Idaho products and producers.

Awareness of the Idaho Preferred ® program continues to increase with 41 percent of consumers statewide aware of the brand and nearly 80 percent of those reporting having seen or heard the message in the media. Effective radio and television ads were part the Idaho Preferred ® Month celebration which also included extensive public relations efforts. The first “Locavore Express” kicked off the celebration with sold-out ThunderMountain Line train ride that featured Idaho wines and cheese on the train and a gourmet all-Idaho meal at Banks. The fifth annual “Taste of Idaho” sponsored by Idaho Preferred ®, Albertsons, Sysco, and Peak Broadcasting was also a part of the month-long celebration and allowed consumers to meet local growers and taste and buy Idaho foods and wines. A new Chef Challenge was added to the event that featured four of Idaho’s top chefs preparing fresh Idaho foods and pairing them with local wines.

Partnerships with the Department of Education and Idaho Agriculture in the Classroom continue to be effective tools for reaching schools with Idaho Preferred ® products and educational materials. “Incredible Edible Idaho” posters featuring nutrition and production facts on a different Idaho food product each month continue to be sent to over 1,000 teachers and school cafeterias. The Idaho Preferred ® school fundraiser, now in its fifth year, provides schools with the opportunity to sell Idaho apples, potatoes, pears, barley soup and other healthy food items while raising funds for educational purposes. The new Idaho Farm to School Manual was published and introduced to over 125 school foodservice directors and staff at the Idaho School Nutrition Association meeting in June.

Currently 29 nursery-related companies participate in the Idaho Preferred ® program. A three week TV campaign aired statewide in April to promote locally-grown plants. In addition, Idaho Preferred ® growers partnered with retailers like Zamzows, Paul’s Markets, Costco and Albertsons to identify and promote local flowers, herbs and garden starts with “Grown with Pride in Idaho” banners, plant stakes and stickers. A prominent link on the newly redesigned Idaho Preferred ® website helps consumers find locally-grown nursery items as well as breads, produce, meats, organic products, wines and gifts.

Administration of Federal Grant Funds to Industry

The division administers grant programs for the development of the agricultural industry including USDA Specialty Crop Block Grants. In FY10, the division launched a competitive grant process to fund eligible projects to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops. Eleven specialty crop projects totaling $796,759.51 were selected for funding. Projects included potatoes, beans, apples, grapes, peas and lentils and mint and ranged from marketing, plant health and food safety to research and education.

Section 102(d) of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 included an aquaculture grant program to provide federal stimulus funds to eligible aquaculture producers that suffered losses associated with high feed input costs. In all, the division distributed $1,042,905.74 in aquaculture grants to 16 aquaculture producers.


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