New Market Developer, July - August 2019

New Market Developer

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In This Issue: 

Welcome, Jimmy!

Jimmy Headshot

We're excited to welcome Jimmy Pierce as our newest International Marketing Program Intern! Jimmy joined the team at the beginning of May.


Education: Jimmy currently attends Michigan State University where he will receive his B.A. in International Relations and minor in Political Economy in 2020. Jimmy is a member of MSU's Psi Upsilon Fraternity where he is currently the Vice President.  


Experience: Jimmy previously interned in many firms in Lansing, including the Michigan Economic Development Corporation as an international trade intern, a political finance office, and the lobbying firm The Frederick Group.


Fun Facts: Jimmy's favorite hobbies are golf, hiking, and writing. He hopes to one day write the next great American novel, but it may be a few years before that happens.


Market Spotlight: Caribbean

The Caribbean may be a great vacation destination, but this region is also a growing destination for Michigan agriculture exports. Michigan companies have already made a large impression on the region, as exports to the Caribbean have grown dramatically in the past few years. From 2017 to 2018, Michigan export sales increased from $31.8 to $36.4 million which is a growth of almost 14%! Michigan products that witnessed the highest growth were dairy products, vegetables, processed meat and fish, cereal, flour, milk, sauces, and fruits. These products show promise for continuing growth into 2019 as well.


To read more on the Caribbean market, visit




Specialty Crop Grant Opportunities

The Specialty Crop Block Grant Program is a joint effort between the USDA and state agencies that market U.S. specialty crops efficiently and competitively. The program provides funds and resources to assist qualified growers and processors to overcome market barriers. Granted funds could help defray the cost of attending trade events such as trade shows, domestic and international buyers missions, and more.


For an entire USDA list of eligible specialty crops:


The Intentional Marketing Program at MDARD has the opportunity to utilize this federal funding for activities that promote the export of Michigan specialty crops. Specific international and domestic trade show opportunities are available for Michigan companyies to attend at a discounted rate. 


If your product is 50% grown, processed, or manufactured in Michigan, and utilizes an eligible specialty crop, consider connecting with qualified buyers looking for food products such as yours!


Upcoming Specialty Crop Trade Show Events:


Americas Food and Beverage Show MI Pavilion

September 23-24, 2019

Miami Beach, Florida



October 5-9, 2019

Cologne, Germany


Register today:

You've Decided to Export, What's Next?

Attend an export seminar, with sessions taking place in both Grand Rapids and Detroit

Join Food Export–Midwest and the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development to begin exporting! Join us for this full day of food export education.


Topics covered will include:

  • Developing Export Readiness Skills
  • Evaluating Export Readiness
  • Export Do's and Don'ts
  • Identifying Markets
  • Building Export Confidence
  • Shipping Samples
  • Meeting Buyer Expectations
  • Building Export Confidence and Competence

We are offering two sessions of this seminar 

August 13, 2019 - Grand Rapids, MI

August 14, 2019 - Detroit, MI 


Cost to register is $50 per person


Register today:

Success Story - Dr. John's Healthy Sweets

Dr. Johns logo

In 2018, Dr. John’s Healthy Sweets, located in Comstock Park, Michigan, participated in Food Export – Midwest’s Sweets and Snacks Expo Buyers Mission where they secured sales and built relationships with buyers from the United Kingdom, Germany, and Korea. As a direct result of their participation, two buyers collectively placed a first time order of $61,000.

Debra Bruinsma, Vice President, said that the buyer meetings and Food Export’s trade events, “Are always helpful to introduce our [Dr. John’s Healthy Sweets] products to new companies.” Debra credits Food Export’s educational resources for helping them properly institute a small business Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) with the UK Buyer and trademarking their brand in China.


To read more about Dr. John's, visit

Upcoming Events

USDA Trade Mission to the United Kingdom

September 15-28, 2019 | London, England

Registration Deadline: August 15, 2019


Americas Food and Beverage Show

September 23-24, 2019 | Miami, FL


Value-Added Feed Ingredients Buyers Mission at the 2019 World Dairy Expo

October 2, 2019 | Madison, WI

Early Registration Deadline: August 16, 2019


USDA Trade Mission to Vietnam

October 14-17, 2019 | Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam 

Registration Deadline: September 13, 2019