It was announced on Monday that Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch and Indiana State Department of Agriculture Director Bruce Kettler would be leading an ag delegation to Manitoba, Canada next week. Kettler told Hoosier Ag Today that despite NAFTA negotiations that are ongoing at the federal level, it’s important to have direct contact as a state in developing new relationships with potential trading partners.
“NAFTA can provide a framework. It can provide an overall look at what we want to do with Mexico and Canada. But I think what we hope to accomplish here, I firmly believe that we need to be able to look specifically at what we need in Indiana. What our businesses want. Trade that may occur between people or businesses in Indiana, we still need relationships.”
Relationships Kettler hopes will help development new markets or products for those businesses in the delegation. Kettler says they’ll be visiting the University of Manitoba during their visit in hopes of creating research partnerships with Purdue. He says they will also visit the Food Development Centre.
“This is a center where they’re looking at trying to bring new or innovative products in the food sector to the market. We’re hoping to be able to find out what they’re working on, their new innovations in food and food processing and how those come to the market. And hopefully then some of our delegates get an interest and understanding what the future looks like in terms of food.”
Organizations joining Kettler and Crouch include representatives from Purdue University, the Indiana Corn Marketing Council, Indiana Farm Bureau, the Indiana Soybean Alliance, and Indiana Dairy Producers.
Kettler told HAT that unique to this trade mission is that the National FFA Organization will also be joining. They are going to connect with Manitoba 4-H to discuss youth leadership development and education, particularly in high schools. Hear more about this and the trip in the full HAT interview with Kettler below.