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KDA Participates in USDA Agriculture Trade Mission to Japan

In June, two representatives from the Kansas Department of Agriculture traveled to Japan on an agribusiness trade mission led by the USDA Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs, Ted McKinney. 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 said. “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.

The trade mission delegation had the opportunity to meet with the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Ken Saito 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. 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,” Soukup said. “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 suzanne.numrich@ks.gov or 785-564-6704.