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Kansas Companies Participate in Trade Mission to China

The Kansas Department of Agriculture led a trade mission to China in August 2017 to provide an opportunity for Kansas small businesses to research new markets. Chase and Celine Larson of Grandpa’s Best Hay LLC in Belleville, Mike Kasl and Adam Robertson of Best West Fabrication in Belleville, and Will Henry and Michael Cheng of Extru-Tech Inc. of Sabetha joined KDA staff members Suzanne Ryan-Numrich, international trade director, and Lynne Hinrichsen, agribusiness development director, on the trade mission.

The purpose of the mission was to attend Petfood Forum China and participate in the trade show at Pet Fair Asia. In addition to participating in the trade show, the delegation had meetings with the Agricultural Trade Office of the U.S. Department of Agriculture where the team gained useful insight on industry issues in the China market.

“Valuable lessons were obtained from this trade mission to China. Grandpa's Best found a lively market in Asia with opportunities to form long-term, trusting business relationships — the kind only face-to-face dialogue can give,” said Larson. “Our team is grateful for the chance to have made a lasting presence in a region full of great opportunities.”

Global trade is a key economic engine of U.S. agriculture and rural America, including Kansas. China is one of the state’s top five trade partners, and in 2016, Kansas exported over $207 million in agriculture commodities to the Chinese market.

“In China, guanxi — or relationships — are key. This trade mission allows us to provide Kansas companies not only the chance to explore market opportunities but also the opportunity to start building relationships with potential trade partners,” said Suzanne Ryan-Numrich. “The Chinese market can be challenging but it offers a lot of potential for those willing to put in the effort.”

The trade mission was funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration using a State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) grant.  KDA strives to encourage and enhance economic growth of the Kansas agriculture industry by exploring and expanding both domestic and international marketing opportunities. If you are interested in participating in upcoming trade missions, please contact Ryan-Numrich at suzanne.numrich@ks.gov or call 785-564-6704.