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PHOTO RELEASE: Zeeland Farm Services Earns 2023 Michigan Agriculture Exporter of the Year Award
July 27, 2023
ZEELAND, Mich. – Today, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Director Tim Boring celebrated Zeeland Farm Services (ZFS) for earning the department’s highest export honors for 2023. The company, headquartered in Zeeland, began exporting Michigan-grown soy products in 1999 and currently about 90 percent of the soybeans they process are grown in Michigan.
“Companies like Zeeland Farm Services are an example of why international buyers continue to view Michigan as the best place for food and agricultural businesses. Zeeland’s work helps to ensure that ‘Made in Michigan’ is recognized around the world,” said Director Boring. “Governor Whitmer is committed to attracting world business to Michigan while investing in its growth on an international scale, as shown in her bipartisan budget. Just this week, Governor Whitmer and Ontario Premier Doug Ford signed a new economic agreement building on our longstanding economic relationship through a new partnership that will increase trade, attract investment, and encourage job creation in both jurisdictions. MDARD is proud to work with companies to grow our global footprint.”
ZFS was founded in 1950 and has 12 employees whose focus is exporting, while many other employees assist in the process daily. They credit their export success to having a great team of people who work well together to make their export program successful.
"Being named the 2023 Michigan Ag Exporter of the Year is a tremendous honor for our entire team at Zeeland Farm Services," said Cliff Meeuwsen, ZFS Chairman of the Board. "Nothing happens without a lot of people making it happen as a team. If it wasn’t for everyone involved, we wouldn’t have the success that we have. It’s rewarding to work with people around the world, from different cultures, to help meet their needs with products made right here in Michigan and the USA.”
As a soy processor, nearly 100 percent of their exports consist of non-GMO soybean meal. ZFS also exports corn, soybean oil, hulls, and other agricultural commodities. Many of their exports are sent to the Pacific Rim, but they also export to Canada, Europe, Central America, and South America. ZFS cites being an active participant with trade organizations and participating in events like trade shows and buyers’ missions as a major help in their export success.
Michigan consistently ranks as one of the most agriculturally diverse states in the nation resulting in a wide array of exported products ranging from bulk soybeans to dried fruit, pickles, and baked goods. Demand for these high-quality, dependable products continues to grow in local markets, online retailers, and supercenters across the globe.
The 2023 Michigan Agriculture Exporter of the Year award review committee consisted of representatives from Van Andel Global Trade Center, Michigan State University’s International Business Center, Comerica Bank, the U.S. Commercial Service’s International Trade Administration, and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s International Trade Team. The decision was made based on export growth in the past three years, job creation from exporting, and the ability to enter new markets.
To be eligible for this award, more than 50 percent of a company's product must be grown, processed, or manufactured 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.