THE NETHERLANDS – Lt. Gov. Brian Calley today met with executives of key Dutch food and agriculture companies to discuss investment opportunities in Michigan.
“Agriculture is a vital industry for both the Dutch and Michigan economies and we have many growth and expansion opportunities within our agri-food sectors,” Calley said. “We value the ties we have with our Dutch partners and look forward to pursuing more ways to work together.”
Joining Calley in the meetings was Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Director Jamie Clover Adams.
“This mission is about cultivating new relationships with our Dutch partners while highlighting the various food and agriculture investment possibilities available in Michigan,” Clover Adams said. “We’re a state ripe with economic prospects. We have the agricultural diversity, water supply, and desire to expand food and agriculture production.”
The agriculture delegation, which includes The Right Place and the West Michigan Global Initiative, met with business leaders at Food Valley, Cargill and Koppert Biological Systems to identify areas for food processing expansion in Michigan, enhance partnerships, and identify biological crop protections and natural pollination through bumblebees.
Koppert Biological Systems develops pollination and pest management systems for agricultural crops. It is a privately owned firm that employs more than 800 people worldwide, including 25-30 in Hartland, Mich. The operation in Hartland grows bumblebees that are used to naturally pollinate crops.
Food Valley is headquartered in the Netherlands in the heart of Dutch agri-food country, and the very source of the world’s most respected food expertise. Food Valley plays an important role in making knowledge accessible to entrepreneurs by partnering businesses, research and education.
Cargill, headquartered in Minneapolis, is an international producer of food, agricultural, financial and industrial products. Founded in 1865, the company employs 142,000 people in 65 countries. Cargill develops, processes and distributes grain, oilseeds and other commodities to makers of food and animal nutrition products.
“West Michigan’s food processing cluster is one of the fastest-growing industries in the region. Establishing new international trade opportunities with Food Valley brings the potential for more long-term, stable growth to this expanding industry,” said Birgit Klohs, president and CEO of The Right Place Inc. “This also supports Gov. Snyder’s strategy for building international agricultural opportunities for Michigan growers and processors.”
Earlier in the day Calley and the Michigan delegation met with officials from Rabobank, a financial services provider for organizations across the agribusiness value chain. The Rabobank Group, one of the world’s 30 largest financial institutions, is recognized for being one of the most efficient and safe banks in the world.
Calley is leading a delegation of state and local officials, business leaders and economic developers on a six-day investment mission to the Netherlands. In addition to Clover Adams, Michigan Speaker of the House Jase Bolger and state Sen. Arlan Meekhof are participating with Calley on the mission.
While in the country, Calley will meet with executives of financial institutions, advanced agricultural production and technology companies and host a meeting with its automotive suppliers. He will also meet with Dutch companies that have industrial, financial and agriculture facilities around the state.
The mission was instituted by the West Michigan Global Initiative with assistance of the Michigan Economic Development Corp., The Right Place Inc., of Grand Rapids, and Detroit Regional Chamber.
The West Michigan Global Initiative serves to facilitate the establishment of significant and long-term business, civic, and cultural relationships between the West Michigan region and the Netherlands; building on the longstanding historic cultural ties between the two communities. The WMGI also serves as the coordinating body of the Legislative Dutch Caucus, a bipartisan political association of Members of the Michigan Legislature established to foster cultural, political, and business ties between Michigan and the Kingdom of the Netherlands. To learn more about the WMGI, please visit http://www.westmichiganglobalinitiative.com/.