Friday, June 17
Secretary departs; delegation continues exhibiting/networking at CIGAL
Sec. Brancel departed for Wisconsin on Friday morning and members of the Wisconsin delegation returned for the final day of the CIGAL Trade Show, where they continued to work their booths and network with potential clients. The delegation returned to Wisconsin over the weekend.
CIGAL (Conferencia Internacional sobre Ganada Lechero or International Conference on Dairy Cattle) provided the Wisconsin companies with opportunities to learn more about market potential in Mexico, connect directly with producers and exporters, and network for long-term business partnerships. Goals of the overall trade mission were to establish and reinforce connections with Mexican government and agricultural leaders, increase awareness of Wisconsin industry and commerce, and continue to build and reinforce the Wisconsin-Jalisco sister state relationship.
The majority of expenses associated with the trade mission were paid for through the following means: federal funding (US Livestock Genetics Export); participating companies; and a State Trade Export Promotion (STEP) grant from the Small Business Administration. The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation applied for the STEP grant and included the CIGAL event as one of the proposed projects. The grant is being used to help Wisconsin small businesses increase their opportunities to export and engage in international trade.
Wisconsin delegation participant Great Lakes Alfalfa, one of nearly a dozen Wisconsin agribusinesses participating in the trade mission, including exhibiting at CIGAL, is recognized as one of the top alfalfa producers in North America. Company officials say their protein levels are almost 30 percent higher than the next best alfalfa. Great Lakes Alfalfa is dried in gas-powered kilns instead of in the sun, which promotes higher levels of protein and allows for better control of moisture and less mildew or mold. The company is based in Merrill.
Another Wisconsin delegation member, Brodhead-based Kuhn North America, makes a growing line of specialized equipment for the full crop production cycle. With over 690 models, products include equipment for land maintenance, tillage, seeding, cutting, gathering,harvesting, feeding and bedding, and spreading. Delegation member, NASCO International, is a USA-based catalog company located in Fort Atkinson. The company offers a diversified portfolio of products serving the agriculture, health and industry fields worldwide, NASCO's Farm and Ranch Catalog offers the most complete listing of agricultural supplies and equipment available, including products for animal identification, veterinary supplies, showing and grooming accessories, breed promotion, artificial insemination, animal health, crops and soils and more.
The Wisconsin delegation also included two representatives from the University of Wisconsin, and journalist Corey Geiger, managing editor of Hoard's Dairyman. Delegation member Dr. Matt Atkins is an Assistant Scientist and Extension Specialist at UW-Madison's Department of Dairy Science. His responsibilities include conducting research and Extension programs on dairy heifer management to improve dairy profitability and reduce environmental impact. Delegation member Carolyn Brady is the International Partnerships Coordinator for UW-River Falls. A recognized leader in dairy science programming, UW-River Falls partners with universities, businesses, and government agencies around the world. Fort Atkinson-based Hoard's Dairyman has been advising dairy farmers and their advisers from North America and around the world on matters related to dairy since 1885. All aspects important to the livelihood and lives of dairy farmers are covered in the magazine, which today is published in English, Spanish and Japanese. Throughout the week, managing editor Corey Geiger reported on the trade mission via social media.
Thursday, June 16
CIGAL continues; meetings with dairy, government leaders
The opening of the CIGAL Dairy Show featured an address by Sec. Brancel in which the Secretary spoke about the strong connection between Wisconsin and Jalisco due to their sister state relationship, and his hope that the CIGAL event will add to the long-lasting positive relationship the two states have built. In his remarks, Sec. Brancel noted that Mexico has been an important trading partner to Wisconsin for years and that ties between Mexico and Wisconsin are so strong that Mexico is opening a Consulate in Milwaukee.
With both states recognized as leaders in the dairy industry, Brancel said Wisconsin understands the challenges of the dairy industry and Wisconsin is ready to help its friends in the Mexican dairy industry become more successful, through the sharing of information, technology and experience.
The Secretary said Wisconsin has much to share and he extended an invitation to CIGAL attendees to attend this year's World Dairy Expo, which will be held October 4-8 in Madison. The Expo, which will be celebrating its 50th year in 2016, features a premier dairy cattle show, hundreds of trade show exhibits and educational seminars. This year, DATCP will be hosting a Dairy Symposium, which will include speakers who are thought leaders from throughout the world.
Later in the afternoon, Sec. Brancel met with members of the Tequila Regulatory Commission to learn about some of the technical work the commission does related to the scientific testing methods to ensure the production of the highest standards of tequila. The commission also shared some of the work it does to protect the name "Tequila" world-wide.
After meeting with the commission, Sec. Brancel met with representatives from the office of Francisco Guizar Macias, secretary of the state office of SAGARPA, Mexico's federal agriculture agency, to discuss issues of mutual interest. Thursday evening, Sec. Brancel met for a final dinner with members of the Wisconsin delegation, where he thanked them for their participation in the trade mission and wished them continuing success.
Following the opening, members of the Wisconsin delegation welcomed large crowds to their booths and exhibit areas in the Wisconsin Pavilion, while Sec. Brancel departed for more meetings with dairy processing and national association leaders.
Among the Wisconsin companies exhibiting at the trade show is GEA, one of the largest suppliers of technology for the food processing industry. GEA, which has a production facility in Galesville, Wis., offers a total solutions approach to dairy farming, offering everything related to milk collection and storage, automatic feeding systems, manure management, barn equipment and stock solutions, including integrated dairy farm management tools and sophisticated service concepts. Another delegation member, Spring Valley-based Estrotect is a leading name in innovative herd management tools developed to assist cattle producers in a wide range of tasks. A leading name in cattle heat detection, Estrotech's heat detection equipment is used to determine the maximum opportunity for cattle pregnancy. Over 50 million units have been used on farms worldwide. Delegation member Continental Plastic Corporation has been a manufacturer and world-wide supplier of products and artificial insemination of domestic livestock and poultry for more than 45 years. Continental Plastic also makes disposable gloves, boots and polyethylene film for the food safety and sanitation industries.
Wednesday, June 15
USDA briefings followed by set up for CIGAL
The Wisconsin delegation started one of the busiest days of the trade mission by attending a briefing session with representatives from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Commercial Service about business opportunities and challenges between the U.S./Wisconsin and Mexico/Jalisco. The Wisconsin delegation started one of the busiest days of the trade mission by attending a briefing session with representatives from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Commercial Service about business opportunities and challenges between the U.S./Wisconsin and Mexico/Jalisco. The two-hour meeting was attended by Gov. Walker and WEDC staff, Sec. Brancel and the Wisconsin companies.
Following the briefing session, Sec. Brancel met with high-ranking Mexican agriculture officials to discuss issues related to dairy production and dairy marketing, including the role the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board plays in marketing Wisconsin dairy products throughout the country. While the Secretary was meeting with the Mexican agricultural officials, mission participants traveled to the CIGAL Trade Show to set up their booths and display area in the Wisconsin Pavilion. The pavilion, specially designed by DATCP, is a self-contained display area within the CIGAL Dairy Show, located in the Expo Guadalajara, the largest convention center in Mexico.
Activities Wednesday evening and night largely focused on opening ceremonies for CIGAL. Following a ribbon-cutting attended by Gov. Walker and Sec. Brancel, WEDC representatives, federal and state level Mexican government officials, show officials and other dignitaries, the entourage participated in a walk-through of the exhibition area. The walk-through was followed by the CIGAL Grand Opening, at which Gov. Walker offered welcoming remarks. At the conclusion of the opening ceremonies, the government officials and dignitaries were invited to a special Wisconsin Cheese/Networking Reception in the Wisconsin Pavilion. Co-hosted by DATCP and the U.S. Dairy Export Council, the reception featured 19 Wisconsin cheeses from 10 companies which had been sourced by the U.S. Dairy Export Council.
Attending the cheese/networking reception were Gov. Walker, DATCP Sec. Brancel, WEDC representatives, Jalisco Governor Aristoteles Sandoval, numerous Mexican government and agriculture officials and dignitaries, and the Wisconsin businesses. Cheese companies represented were Saputo USA Cheese, Schreiber Foods, Crystal Farms, Arthur Schuman, Arla Foods USA, Belgioioso Cheese, Sartori Foods, Sargento Foods, AMPI and Swiss Valley Farms.
Tuesday, June 14
Meetings with Jalisco dairy cooperatives; farm and industry tours
The Wisconsin delegation had an eventful, educational day on its first full day in Jalisco, with activities scheduled from early morning until 10 p.m.
The day started with the delegation departing for an hour-long bus ride to Tepatitlan for a breakfast meeting with more than 100 agricultural cooperative leaders, producers, and local government authorities. Located in the Highlands of Jalisco, Tepatitlan, a city of just over 100,000, is surrounded by dairy farms on rolling hills overlooking the city. One of the top milk-producing regions of Jalisco and all of Mexico, Tepatitlan also is at the forefront of the nation's dairy cooperative efforts. Tepatitlan also is a sister city of Madison, since 2012.
In his comments to the breakfast gathering, which also served as a "meet and greet" networking opportunity for the Wisconsin companies, Sec. Brancel noted Wisconsin also is a proud leader in the cooperative movement, with 80 to 85 percent of the state's milk marketed by dairy cooperatives and about 60 percent of Wisconsin's cheese made by a cooperative. Sec. Brancel said he is appreciative of the many delegations from throughout the region that attend World Dairy Expo, which will be celebrating its 50th anniversary (October 4-8) in Madison in 2016. In 2015, there were 3,060 registered international guests from 94 countries at the Expo, with Mexico among the top five with international attendees. Brancel also encouraged the Mexican agriculture and cooperative leaders and government officials to attend the CIGAL trade show in Guadalajara, where they could continue networking with the Wisconsin companies.
At the morning event, Sec. Brancel presented certificates of appreciation to five Wisconsin "partners" from Jalisco. Individuals receiving recognition included: Ramiro Ramirez, Salvador Perez, Dr. Sergio Soltero, Dr. Luis del Valle, and Ruben Ibarra Martin. Ramiro Ramirez started PROLEA, a cooperative, in 1991, with 44 members, and today it has grown to 540 members. The cooperative has faced challenges in the past, but today it produces all of the feed for its members, owns its own cheese processing plant and continues to grow. Salvador Perez is the general manager for UCCA (Union of Cooperatives Alteñas). UCCA supplies feed ingredients, feed and other products to its members, consisting of 18 cooperatives. Dr. Sergio Soltero is the managing director of COFOCALEC, an organization responsible for the quality of the milk produced at the national level. Dr. Luis del Valle is the president of the board of COFOCALEC, a private, nonprofit organization whose main objective is to promote the quality of milk and its products. Since its inception 16 years ago, it has worked to bring training and technical assistance to help grow micro and small businesses. Rubén Ibarra Martin is the past president of the Livestock Association of Los Altos, Tepatitlan de Morelos. A dairy producer, he has excelled at operating his farming business and is always willing to help small producers.
Also attending the breakfast meeting was Hector Padilla, head of Jalisco's Ministry of Rural Development (SEDER), Padilla and Sec. Brancel spoke about issues of mutual interest, particularly in the dairy field. Padill's office later issued a press release about Jalisco's efforts to bolster its agricultural ties with Wisconsin. Read the release here.
During the breakfast, the Wisconsin companies introduced themselves to the Mexican agricultural cooperative leaders and other invited guests. One Wisconsin company, ANIMART, LLC, is a privately held provider of animal health and veterinary products as well as show equipment for dairy and livestock producers. ANIMART was established in 1982 and is headquartered in Beaver Dam. Another delegation member, Calf-Tel, is an industry leader for calf housing. Manufactured in Wisconsin, there are more than 40 countries in which Calf-Tel products are in use today. Another delegation member, Chippewa Falls-based VES Environmental Solutions, LLC specializes in manufacturing state of the art products that provide the ideal dairy farm "environments. Its vast range of products includes full lines of recirculation and exhaust fans, dairy steel, lighting, high pressure misting, roll curtains, and a complete compliment of environmental controls.
After the breakfast meeting, the delegation traveled about an to hour to Lagos de Moreno, located in the northeast corner of Jalisco, for farm and industry tours at the Rancho San Felipe Dairy and the nearby ProAn poultry and egg facilities. Both facilities are owned by the same businessman, Manuel Romo, who hosted lunch for the delegation. With more than 3,500 cows, the modern dairy facility is one of the largest in the region. While there, the Wisconsin delegation met with the farm's nutritionist, Dr. Jesus Olmos, a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The ProAn poultry and egg plant, the second largest family-owned poultry operation in the world, is an innovative, multi-faceted business that also includes a corrugated box manufacturing facility, a large feed operation, and a separate swine production operation.
Late Tuesday afternoon, delegation members traveled back to the hotel in Guadalajara and that evening Sec. Brancel and the delegation attended a group dinner with Governor Walker, who had arrived in Jalisco following two days of meetings in Mexico City. At the group dinner, Sec. Brancel introduced delegation members to the governor.
Monday, June 13
The delegation departs from Madison
This week, Governor Scott Walker and DATCP Secretary Ben Brancel are leading a trade mission to Mexico, where in addition to meeting with Mexican business and agricultural leaders to encourage trade and investment in Wisconsin, the Governor and Secretary are leading a delegation of Wisconsin businesses to the CIGAL Dairy Trade Show, a major dairy conference in the Mexican state of Jalisco, Wisconsin's sister state since 1990.
During the week, Sec. Brancel will participate in several meetings and events with Governor Walker in Jalisco. The Governor, accompanied by officials from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, also will be traveling to Mexico City to meet with targeted Mexican companies interested in expanding in the United States. Sec. Brancel's schedule focuses chiefly on meetings and events in Jalisco, including high-level meetings with government officials to discuss matters related to dairy production/processing and trade. Governor Walker and Sec. Brancel will both attend the CIGAL Dairy Trade Show.
Mexico is Wisconsin's second most valuable agricultural export market, importing more than $290 million in products in 2015. Jalisco has a population of nearly seven million people and is one of the more important states in Mexico because of its natural resources and rich history. Jalisco has the third-richest economy in the Mexican Republic and more than 30 of Mexico's largest companies are based in the south-central state, which ranks first in computers, agribusiness and jewelry manufacturing. Jalisco, like Wisconsin, is recognized as a leading dairy state, and it produces nearly one-fifth of the Mexico's total milk supply. Aside from dairy, Jalisco's chief agricultural products are peanuts, and agave, which is used for distilling the famous Mexican drink, tequila. As Mexico's technology hub, Jalisco manufactures 60 percent of all computers made in Mexico, and Guadalajara, a city of 1.5 million people, is Mexico's main software development center.
After arriving in Mexico Monday afternoon, the Wisconsin delegation met for an evening briefing session in Guadalajara to review the week's itinerary. Sec. Brancel is leading the group of Wisconsin-based agribusinesses, farmers, media and educators on the week-long trade mission, which is a great opportunity for delegation members to build new connections for Wisconsin agriculture, including at the CIGAL Dairy Tradeshow (June 15-17) in Guadalajara. DATCP's goals for the trade mission are to help create business opportunities for Wisconsin, raise awareness of Wisconsin's global leadership in agriculture, and continue to build Wisconsin's partnership with our sister state, Jalisco.
DATCP has attended the CIGAL Dairy Show for more than a decade and this is the largest delegation the department has ever sent. DATCP's delegation consists of 30 people (Sec. Brancel and two DATCP staff members, representatives from 11 Wisconsin companies, two representatives from the University of Wisconsin, and Hoard's Dairyman managing editor Corey Geiger). The show itself has been held annually for more than 30 years and it is Mexico's largest annual dairy-related conference.
Stay tuned for daily updates about the mission. Throughout the week, we'll also introduce you to members of the Wisconsin delegation. One of the companies, DeForest-based ABS Global, is a world-leader of bovine genetics, reproduction services, technologies and udder care products. Marketing in more than 70 countries around the globe, ABS has been at the forefront of animal genetics and technology since its founding in 1941. ABS offers a varied line of superior genetics to meet the demands of the many climates, market variations and preferences served by the company. Another delegation member, Accelerated Genetics, is a global provider of bovine genetics and research, reproductive services, and solution-based animal health products. Known as Tri-State Breeders Cooperative until 1994, Accelerated Genetics is a cooperative formed in Wisconsin in 1941 and is the oldest artificial insemination company in the U.S. With administrative offices in Baraboo and dairy bull housing and semen production facilities in Westby, Accelerated Genetics produces elite genetics to dairy and beef producers in the U.S. and more than 85 other countries.