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Home > Food from Farm to Table > Business, Economics & Agricultural Marketing > Exporting > MDA Export Promotion Services

MDA - Your Partner in Agricultural Export Promotion!

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture works to discover and develop potential markets for Minnesota's farmers and agribusinesses. We provide assistance to individuals and businesses in evaluating foreign market entry methods, understanding and obtaining regulatory requirements, finding qualified buyers, understanding logistics, and locating financing options and market promotion funds.

MDA also works closely with the Food Export Association for the Midwest USA, a private, non-profit association that offers services to help companies promote their Midwestern food and agricultural products in foreign markets. MDA is one of 12 State Departments of Agriculture or agencies working with the Food Export Association. The strong relationship between MDA and the Food Export Association is one reason why Minnesota continues to be a national leader in the agri-trade industry.

Our services are open to Minnesota producers, processors, and packagers of all sizes and experience levels.

Beginning Exporter

  • Educational seminars - MDA offers export seminars on a variety of topics including export documentation, HS codes, INCOTERMS, export financing, market research, trade agreements and more. Check our calendar for the next seminar in your area!
  • Export consultation - MDA international trade representatives offer guidance on creating an export marketing plan, preparing export documentation, identifying target markets, finding funding opportunities, etc. We can also connect you to service providers such as freight forwarders, translation companies, international law firms, accountants and banks.
  • Food Export HelplineTM - Food Export’s complimentary Helpline provides one-on-one assistance on a wide variety of export-related topics, including a top 25 market evaluation for your product(s).
  • Network of international contacts - Through MDA’s international trade representatives, Food Export-Midwest and the USDA’s Foreign Ag Service, we have connections in virtually all markets for U.S. agricultural products. We capitalize on these contacts to answer your market-specific questions in a timely manner.
  • MDA Market Leader - MDA’s international trade representatives publish a monthly e-newsletter with timely updates on important international agricultural and trade topics, links to information on upcoming events and summaries of recent trade missions and delegation visits. Contact Michael Crusan today if you’d like to be added to our distribution list (michael.crusan@state.mn.us or 651-201-6629).

Intermediate Exporter

  • Tradeshow Support Program - The Minnesota Tradeshow Support Program (TSP) is designed to encourage small to medium-sized Minnesota food companies, farmers and ranchers who add value to their products, agricultural cooperatives, and others to investigate new markets by attending new local, regional and international wholesale food sales events (tradeshows). The TSP can provide up to $5,000 per year to companies for cost-sharing of booth space expenses at wholesale food shows, booth development costs and sampling.
  • Food Export Market BuilderTM - Food Export’s fee-based service assists with market research and establishing new distributor relationships in select markets for companies that are new to exporting and/or new to a market. Services include: industry insights about the distribution process for the market; foreign import regulations and restrictions; potential importers/distributors for your products; intelligence on competitive product pricing and positioning; feedback from importers regarding your product’s packaging, taste, appearance and labeling; translation of up to four pages of technical information and feedback on manufacturing and processing applications, and technical specifications and minimum order size.
  • Food Export Branded ProgramTM - Cost-share funding program that supports the promotion of branded and private label food and agricultural products in foreign markets. Companies can receive 50% cost reimbursement for a most export-related activities including trade show booth space, travel to foreign markets, label modifications, website translation and more.
  • Buyers missions - Meet foreign buyers from all over the world here at home! MDA brings buyers to Minnesota on a regular basis, saving you time and money when identifying potential importers or distributors for your products.
  • Trade leads - MDA’s international trade representatives collects foreign importer requests for U.S. agricultural products and disseminates the leads to relevant companies directly and via our monthly e-newsletter.
  • Exporter directory - Your company’s contact and product information can be listed in our online, searchable Minnesota food company directory.
  • Export certification - MDA’s export certification specialists can help you obtain a phytosanitary certificate or certificate of free sale (also sometimes called a health or state of origin certificate) quickly and for a low cost.

Experienced Exporter

  • Minnesota Trade Show Pavilions - MDA buys booth space at key domestic and international trade shows and sells it back to Minnesota companies at a discount (usually 50% off). Visit our calendar for details on this year’s shows!
  • Agent/distributor search - MDA works with Food Export-Midwest to help connect you to qualified partners in your target markets (fee-based service).
  • Trade missions - MDA coordinates several trade missions each year for targeted agricultural sectors and international markets. Trade missions provide first-hand exposure to new markets through one-on-one meetings, market briefings, retail tours and facility visits.
  • Food Export Food Show PLUS! TM - Fee-based service to assist U.S. exhibitors at key international tradeshows in maximizing the potential to develop leads and sales from the show. Services offered vary by show, but may include a booth interpreter, pre-show product research, in-market briefings and local tours, and/or targeted invitation of qualified buyers to your booth.

MDA Contact

Jeffrey Phillips, International Trade Manager
jeffrey.phillips@state.mn.us, 651-201-6220

Brian Erickson, Tradeshow Support, Business Development
brian.j.erickson@state.mn.us, 651-201-6539

Su Ye, Domestic & International Market Research; China & Taiwan Trade
su.ye@state.mn.us, 651-201-6384

Emily Jerve, Market Research, Commodities
emily.jerve@state.mn.us, 651-201-6189 

Ag Marketing & Development Division