Aaron Edwards maps a strategy while his father Todd Edwards explains the workings of Mil Agro Inc. at their office in Hyrum.
HYRUM– The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is pushing farmers, ranchers and other agriculture producers from across the country to look at international markets as another way to move their goods.
Todd Edwards, president of Mil Agro Inc., a commercial fertilizer and soil enhancement company in Hyrum, said earlier in his career he took advantage of some of the USDA trade mission opportunities. He said those trade missions were a powerful thing. It helped the company he was working for expand into new markets.
Edwards visited North Africa, Egypt, Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines and other countries, many due to those international trade missions. In all Edwards has been in 40 different countries.
“The USDA wants to help producers get their products in other countries,” he said. “We took advantage of those sponsored trade missions; they opened up a lot of doors.”
Mil Agro, Inc. formulates and distributes natural environmentally safe and organic products for commercial agricultural producers with a focus on plant bio-stimulants and nutrition. In their third year they have developed strong markets in Mexico and Chile with plans to expand in Central and South America.
After being in the business of selling products internationally for nearly 30 years, Edwards started Mil Agro out of his home and rented a warehouse in Hyrum and began to formulate and mix his own specialized formulas. Mil Agro is a family business with four full time employees.
This year the USDA is sponsoring seven international agribusiness trade missions to grow and diversify exports around the world for America’s farmers and ranchers, Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs, Ted McKinney, announced recently.
“I cannot overstate the immense value trade missions provide to the U.S. agriculture industry and to our customers,” McKinney said. “Trade missions help agribusinesses – both large and small – get their foot in the door to new markets, build strong relationships with existing and potential customers, and expand their global footprint and sales of U.S. farm and food products.”
Some commodities listed on their website include; biofuels, dairy, fish, fruits/vegetables, livestock/meats oilseeds, eggs/poultry, processed foods and legumes. Also listed are grains, feed, tree nuts and seeds.
“I’ve had the pleasure of leading numerous trade missions at USDA and the results overwhelmingly speak for themselves. In 2019 alone, six USDA trade missions enabled more than 170 U.S. companies and organizations to engage in 3,200 one-on-one meetings with foreign buyers, generating more than $78 million in projected 12-month sales,” said McKinney.
Each year, the marketing and trade experts from USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) analyze and select a combination of new and growing markets that offer the best prospects for U.S. agricultural farm and food exports.
For 2020, FAS has planned a record seven missions, four of which are first-time destinations for USDA trade missions.
While final dates are subject to confirmation, scheduled 2020 trade missions include:
- North Africa (Algeria, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia), March 16-19
- Philippines, April 20-23
- Spain and Portugal, June 8-11*
- United Kingdom, September 14-17*
- Australia and New Zealand, October 19-23*
- Peru, November 2-5
- United Arab Emirates, November 15-18*
*Denotes first-time destination
Stay current on USDA trade missions by visiting https://www.fas.usda.gov/topics/trade-missions. You can also subscribe to receive email updates by going to https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/usdafas/subscriber/new, entering your contact information, and under “Information by Topic” selecting “Trade Missions.”