A Wisconsin delegation of agriculture-related businesses, economic development officials and educators led by Gov. Scott Walker and DATCP Sec. Ben Brancel returned home from a trade mission to Mexico last week having fulfilled their goals of strengthening trade and investment ties between Mexico and Wisconsin.
In addition to participating in a series of meetings with Mexican business, government and agricultural officials, taking several farm and industry tours and receiving briefings from U.S. federal trade representatives, the delegation – which included nearly a dozen Wisconsin agriculture-related businesses — participated in the CIGAL Dairy Trade Show, a major dairy conference in the Mexican state of Jalisco, Wisconsin's sister state since 1990.
'Governor Walker's trade mission allowed us to establish and reinforce connections with Mexican officials and increase awareness of Wisconsin industry and commerce, including agriculture,' said Sec. Brancel. 'Mexico is Wisconsin's second most valuable agricultural export market, importing more than $290 million in agriculture-related products from our state in 2015.'
Brancel added, 'The CIGAL trade show and the trade mission provided Wisconsin agricultural companies with an opportunity to learn more about market potential in Mexico, connect directly with producers and importers, and set up opportunities for long-term business partnerships. I'm also pleased we were able to continue to build on our sister state relationship with Jalisco.'
The trade mission was held June 13-18, with the CIGAL Dairy Trade Show held June 15-17 in Guadalajara, Jalisco's capital city. 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.
Like Wisconsin, Jalisco is recognized as a leading dairy state, producing nearly one-fifth of Mexico's total milk supply. Many of the Jalisco's producers are small- to mid-size producers, and, like Wisconsin, the dairy cooperative movement is vital to the dairy industry there.
By participating in CIGAL, the Wisconsin companies had the unique opportunity of making an impression on Mexican importers by exhibiting in trade show booth space located within the Wisconsin Pavilion, a specially designed exhibit area within the convention center.
'CIGAL is Mexico's premier dairy cattle conference, drawing in leading dairy producers and feed, genetics and equipment companies,' said Jen Pino-Gallagher, director of DATCP's International Agribusiness Center. 'The mission was a perfect example of the work that the trade team at the International Agribusiness Center does to help Wisconsin businesses grow their markets abroad.'
Wisconsin companies exhibiting at CIGAL included: ABS Global, Accelerated Genetics, Animart LLC, Calf-Tel, Continental Plastic, Estrotect, GEA, Great Lakes Alfalfa, Kuhn North America, NASCO, and VES. The delegation also included representatives from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and University of Wisconsin-River Falls, and Hoard's Dairyman.
Following the CIGAL opening ceremony Wednesday, June 15, the U.S. Dairy Export Council and DATCP hosted a Wisconsin Cheese/Networking Reception. The U.S Dairy Export Council sourced 19 varieties of cheese from 10 companies for the reception. Numerous high-ranking officials attended including Gov. Walker, Sec. Brancel, Jalisco Secretary of Agriculture Hector Padilla, and other Mexican state and federal officials.