FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Don Canton or Don Larson
Dalrymple: N.D. Companies Land Ag, Aviation Trade Deals in Taiwan
BISMARCK, N.D. – Lt. Gov. Jack Dalrymple today announced in a conference call that Dakota Prairie Organic Flour Co., (Earth Harvest Mills), and other North Dakota agriculture companies on a trade mission to Taiwan have landed lucrative deals with Asian companies. The delegation is currently attending a four-day trade show in Taiwan, called Food Taipei, the 16th Taipei International Food Show.
“We continue to be amazed at how successful our North Dakota businesses are at merchandising in Taiwan and in Asia generally,” Dalrymple said. “One of the highlights is the Dakota Prairie-Earth Harvest Mills. Their CEO Grayson Hoberg has discovered that there is a tremendous blossoming interest in organic flours.”
Dakota Prairie Organic Flour of Harvey, organic flour products, has landed a deal for 200 containers of various flour products, about 200,000 bushels monthly, to a Hong Kong based retail food chain of 3,200 stores in eight countries. The deal will require an expansion of their current 60 container a month production capacity, Hoberg said.
“We’ve had some phenomenal success at this trade show,” said Grayson Hoberg, CEO of Earth Harvest Mills, by telephone from Taipei. “The key for companies marketing in North Dakota to Asia is to go to these trade shows to revisit the customer base that you’re working on and that you already have.”
Dave Morken, general manager of Unity Seed in Casselton, said the company is nearing an agreement to supply 150 containers of non-GMO corn to a prominent Asian snack food manufacturer. He also has a prospect for identity-preserved barley for human consumption as a cholesterol reducing product, a prospect that could benefit the entire state of North Dakota. Morken said 150 containers is quite a large order, because identify-preserved corn is an infant market. “This could become a lot bigger down the road.”
In a similar vein, Greg Johnson of Premiere Pulses International of Minot received an initial order for 250 containers of food-grade peas, according to Dalrymple.
Vance Taylor of the State Mill and Elevator reported interest on several levels from large and small customers, mainly interested in organic flours but also in white spring wheat and conventional wheat flours.
Earlier this week, Mid-America Aviation President Tom Kenville reported he has agreements from three Taiwanese aerospace companies to provide them with aircraft maintenance and aircraft mechanical training services. The agreements will earn Mid-America as much as $1 million in the first year of the deals and up to $3 million in the second year. The sales will continue to increase over five years, Kenville said.
Mid-America services gear boxes for military helicopters and jets, including the F-15 and F-16 fighter aircraft. The new contracts will provide service to civilian aircraft, as well.
“We’re considering building a new facility in Fargo, and this will drive us to do that,” Kenville said. He says the company now has 28 skilled employees and could expand to 38-45, depending on the rate of release of the new product in Asia. Pay is about double the average in Fargo, with a bonus program, Kenville said. Kenville is also the CEO of Roll-a-Ramp, a new portable ramp system for wheelchair and scooter users who want an alternative to expensive chair lifts.
“The Trade Office lined up the exact people (we needed to see),” he said. Kenville also complimented Goodrich Cargo Systems and the University of North Dakota’s John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences.
UND Aerospace is establishing a relationship with four Asian airlines and is also laying the groundwork for a 2007 request for proposals by the Taiwanese equivalent of the Federal Aviation Administration to train pilots and air traffic controllers, according to Chuck Pineo of UND Aerospace. Pineo said that Taiwan will need to train 1,000 pilots a year to keep up with increasing demand due to growing economic activity.
Director General Jack C. K. Chen of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Kansas City, who helped to organize the mission, said he was pleased that the delegates were doing well, and pledged to continue to promote trade between North Dakota and Taiwan.
Dalrymple is leading the 29-member delegation on an eight-day trade mission that concludes June 24. The delegation includes representatives from 10 agribusinesses, several of which reported making significant sales midway through the mission.
On Monday, Dalrymple and Department of Transportation Director Dave Sprynczynatyk met with high-level officials from four of the world’s major steamship lines in Shanghai, China and Hong Kong.
The meetings were part of Gov. Hoeven’s Unified Rail Transportation Plan to increase the pool of intermodal shipping containers that are available for North Dakota businesses. The North Dakota officials met with the China Ocean Shipping Co. (COSCO); China Shipping Container Lines in Shanghai; Orient Overseas Container Lines; and NYK Line of Hong Kong.
“We had some very positive meetings, and we’re opening some doors,” Dalrymple said. “These steamship operators liked the idea of getting more shipping containers from North Dakota to Asian markets.”
The 10 agribusinesses participating in the mission – producers and marketers of food-grade crops – traveled throughout Taiwan for one-on-one meetings with some of Asia’s largest food buyers and processors. Many of them said they expect even more interest in their products during their participation in the world renowned Taipei International Food Show.