SALEM, Ore. — An expedition of Oregon's top food producers ships out to Shanghai, China within the week. Led by Alexis Taylor, Director of the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA), this bold crew will be looking for new trade deals in a burgeoning Chinese economy.
“The delegation going to China this year is very diverse, everything from berries to beef,” Taylor said in an ODA statement.
Among those producers are Bailey-Trotman Farms of Malin and Gold Dust Potato Processors of Merrill (both part of the Oregon Potato Commission) and K-Bar Ranches of Myrtle Creek (of the Oregon Cattleman's Association).
Beef, however, will be the belle of the ball. According to the ODA, Oregon has been unable to ship beef to China for more than a decade. This year, it seems, that has finally changed.
“We plan to create many new contacts and learn about the long-term prospects for Oregon beef in the China market,” says Nathan Jackson, President of the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association and General Manager of K-Bar Ranches.
China's middle class is booming, according to the ODA, and is expected to grow by more than 160 million households within the next decade. By working to establish relationships and distribution channels, this could be a big opportunity for Oregon beef producers.
“Trade work in this market that just opened for US and Oregon beef will be an important way for us to educate our Chinese buyers about Oregon beef, and to learn how best to market our product in China,” said Jackson.
In 2017 alone, more than $290 million in Oregon food and agricultural products were shipped to China—Oregon's fourth largest market for products behind Japan, South Korea, and Canada.
“Agricultural trade is critical for Oregon’s economy,” said Taylor. “With the uncertainty surrounding federal trade policy and the state’s fourth largest trading partner, China, we believe there is no better time for us to strengthen our relationships with Chinese buyers and continue our work to promote and build demand for Oregon’s exceptional agricultural products.”
Here is a full list of the Oregon companies represented on this trip to China:
All Berry & Fruits - Portland
Bob’s Red Mill - Portland
Country Natural Beef - Burns
Fresh Elements Farms - Salem
Harper Farms - Junction City
Herb Guru Brand - Portland
Hoopla Global - Portland
Kombucha Wonder Drink - Portland
Seaview Cranberries - Sixes
Willamette Valley Fruit Company - Salem
Oregon Beef Council - Portland
Oregon Cattlemen’s Association/K-Bar Ranches - Myrtle Creek
Oregon Potato Commission/Gold Dust Potato Processors - Merrill
Oregon Potato Commission/Bailey-Trotman Farms - Malin
Oregon State University/Food Innovation Center - Portland
Port of Portland - Portland