Thursday morning at 9:00 am MST, there’s an exciting international trade opportunity for farmers and ranchers to participate in. The Montana World Trade Center is hosting a free virtual trade forum with Israel to highlight opportunities to grow trade between Montana and Israel with a special focus on agriculture and ag technology.
Abby Majerus, a central Montana rancher and the Foreign Direct Investment Program Manager for the Montana World Trade Center, told Northern Ag Network’s Colter Brown that the virtual trade forum is meant to take the place of a trade mission.
“Since we aren’t able to physically go over to Israel to meet with companies to learn more about what is happening in the ag sector over there, this is the best we can do at this point to connect those two dots virtually,” Majerus said.
The Montana World Trade Center has taken the lead on the virtual trade forum, but they are also working with the Montana Department of Commerce, the Montana Department of Agriculture, Montana High Tech Business Alliance, Montana Farm Bureau and Inspired Classroom. Montana Senator Jon Tester and Governor Steve Bullock will also be participating in the forum.
From the Israeli side, representatives from the Consulate General of Israel, the Israeli Ministry of Agriculture and the Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce will be joining the event.
Majerus said there’s plenty of potential opportunities to build a trade relationship between Montana and Israel, especially in the ag technology sector. “We’re hoping to have some conversations around drone technology and around irrigation technologies,” she said. “As well as hemp processing and research, cattle genetics and anything else that comes up that seems to strike a similar chord between Montana and Israel.”
An opportunity both to export products from Montana to Israel, but also the chance to import some technology. “We’re hoping that this just scratches the surface to get people interested,” continued Majerus. “We want this to be the jumping off point. If people see a potential relationship, we want this to be where they learn about each other. Then we’ll help to facilitate further conversations.”
In a normal year, Montana farmers and ranchers would welcome multiple international trade teams to the state to teach them more about the products they raise and work towards expanding new markets. In 2020 though, trade missions must take place virtually.
But Majerus says this is a great way for ag producers to get involved and learn more about what’s happening in the world. “It’s really easier to get our blinders on and just keep doing our day to day, but we can learn more. You never know, there might be something that really piques someone’s interest. We encourage people to tune in, ask questions and participate.”
Northern Ag Network