Kamps Hardwoods Awarded 2020 Ag Exporter of the Year Award

For immediate release: September 10, 2020         
Media contact: Jessy Sielski, 517-331-1151

Kamps HardwoodsLANSING — The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has awarded Kamps Hardwoods with the “2020 Michigan Agriculture Exporter of the Year Award.” Each year, MDARD recognizes an outstanding Michigan food or agriculture company for its efforts to increase exports of Michigan food and agriculture products.

“It’s truly a pleasure to recognize the innovative and driven entrepreneurs we have in this great state—not only for the jobs they create, but also because they serve as global representatives of Michigan’s extraordinary food and agriculture industry,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. “Over the past few years, Kamps Hardwoods has emerged as a preferred supplier of unique and high-quality hardwoods throughout the state, the country, Canada, and other regions of the world, and I am proud to recognize them as the 2020 Agriculture Exporter of the Year.”

Founded in 2010 by Paul Kamps, Kamps Hardwoods in Dutton, Michigan, specializes in manufacturing kiln-dried lumber from standing timber harvested throughout Michigan. Working closely with a tight base of Michigan sawmills and vendors, including Kamps Hardwood’s own Buskirk Lumber in Freeport, Michigan, they produce a diverse lumber mix of species, grades, and thicknesses and are Forest Stewardship Council certified, which demonstrates their commitment to sustainable forestry.

Buskirk Lumber began exporting green lumber to Canada in its early days. After the purchase of the dry kilns in Dutton, lumber exports became a very important market for the business with China being a prominent market. As Kamps Hardwoods grew, the importance of diversifying their international market share was important.

Kamps Hardwoods has become an internationally recognized product successfully exporting to countries around the globe including China, Vietnam, Romania, Germany, Italy, United Kingdom, Japan, Russia, Indonesia, South Korea, Canada, Mexico, and more.

“We’re very proud to present this award to Kamps Hardwoods,” said MDARD Director Gary McDowell. “Achieving such a broad global reach in such a short time is no small feat, and this is a perfect way to recognize that achievement, as well as showcase the diversity of Michigan’s food and agriculture industry.”

“We’re so thankful to all of our customers and to the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation for their help and support as we have sought to grow our export business, said Rob Kukowski, general manager of Kamps Hardwoods. “The team here at Kamps has worked hard to increase our quality and service as we have expanded our market and are so appreciative for the honor of this award.”

The award review committee consisted of representatives from Michigan State University; Michigan Farm Bureau; Comerica Bank; Foster, Swift, Collins & Smith P.C.; and the Van Andel Global Trade Center. The decision was made based on export growth in the past three years, job creation from exporting, and ability to enter new markets. Special thanks to Michigan State University International Business Center for sponsoring the award.

To be eligible for this award, more than 50 percent of a company’s product must be grown and produced in Michigan, and exports must have contributed a substantial amount to a company’s overall growth. For more information on past winners and the International Marketing Program, visit Michigan.gov/AgExport.

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Photo 1 (left to right): Paul Kamps, President, Kamps Hardwoods; Tyler Kamps, Vice President of Operations and Export Sales, Kamps Hardwoods

Photo 2: 2020 Michigan Agriculture Exporter of the Year Award