The Oregon and Idaho Departments of Agriculture are stepping up activities with the Treasure Valley’s two of the biggest export markets for onions; Mexico and Canada. To accomplish that, the two states are hosting an entourage of eight visitors from Mexico this week, and a similar inbound trade mission from Canada is planned for September 2020.
According to Laura Johnson, Bureau Chief of Marketing and Development for the Idaho State Department of Agriculture, the eight Sept. 17-18 visitors, not including the contractor, represent seven companies. One is a food blogger, and of the other six, one is a retailer and five are wholesale/distributors.
Prior to the group’s arrival, Laura, who is working with Erick Garman, Trade Development Manager with the Oregon Department of Agriculture, on the tour, explained a bit more about the funding. It is part of a $200 million package the USDA awarded to 57 organizations through the Agricultural Trade Promotion Program with the intent “to help US farmers and ranchers identify and access new export markets,” and the Western United States Agricultural Trade Association received some $7.5 million. Of that amount, the Idaho and Oregon Departments of Agriculture were recipients of the onion-tagged $256,100.
She said those monies are for onion-only promotions for Mexico and Canada, adding, “WUSATA received funding for many other projects. The itinerary includes visits to the packing companies, and several but not all stops will include a tour of the packing shed and warehouse.”
Idaho and Eastern Oregon shippers included on the tour visits earlier in the week included Symms Fruit Ranch, Eagle Eye Produce/Fiesta Farms, Fort Boise Produce, JC Watson Packing Company, and Baker & Murakami Produce Company. Visits scheduled for September 19 include Golden West Produce, Owyhee Produce, and Partners Produce.