New State Ag Director Takes the Reins on China Trade Missions

Agency: Agriculture and Rural Development

For immediate release: June 1, 2018
Media contact: Jessy Sielski, 517-284-5725
Program contact: Jamie Zmitko-Somers, 517-284-5738

LANSING – Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Director Gordon Wenk will continue the department’s work with Michigan businesses when he leads the next trade mission to Beijing and Guangzhou, China, September 17-21. This mission will allow Michigan food and agricultural companies to be immersed into the local food industry, while connecting with qualified Chinese buyers. The mission will include one-on-one meetings, retail tours, and briefings with U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials within the country. 

“I’m very excited to make my first trip to China and lead a trade mission to an ever-expanding export market,” said Wenk, who was named MDARD director in February. “China’s middle class continues to demand high quality food products from the U.S., which provides great potential for Michigan food and agriculture companies.”  

In 2017, Michigan food and agriculture exports to China totaled more than $67 million. 

“Traveling to China provides companies an opportunity to see firsthand the market potential and to meet face-to-face with key buyers,” stated Jamie Zmitko-Somers, manager of MDARD’s International Marketing Program. Companies participating in the 2017 trade mission projected a nearly $1 million export sales increase within 6-12 months as a direct result of participating in the trade mission. In addition, more than 80 new buyer contacts were established. 

The cost to participate in the MDARD China trade mission is $1,000. The mission is limited to only 12 companies, and the application deadline is June 22. Companies are responsible for travel, hotel, and incidentals. 

For more information, contact Jamie Zmitko-Somers at 517-284-5738 or, or visit



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