Member Profile: Summers Manufacturing

Member Profile: Summers Manufacturing

Posted on December 2, 2021

Summers Manufacturing is an employee-owned business in
Devils Lake, ND, with a passion for strong and durable equipment. They have
been producing farm equipment like tillers, land rollers, and sprayers since 1965
and see their slow and steady growth continuing well into the future. Territory
sales managers John Helgaas and Ben Idland took some time to discuss exports,
manufacturing in ND, and how Summers has continued to excel.

The company's backbone is its consistent workforce with many
years of experience who are fiercely loyal. For many businesses across the
country, workforce shortages have become an issue, but with dedicated
employees, Summers can also focus on farmers' hardships too. "We have to
adapt to what the farmer's challenges are," says Helgaas, "if they
have labor shortages, we can adapt our products to use fewer laborers." He
goes on to talk about how this industry (manufacturing and farming) was born
out of adaptability. Farmers have been adjusting to the environment, labor
needs, and with or without the pandemic, they have a strong history of being
creative, innovative, and forward-thinking to overcome challenges. "Summers
is made up of farmers," says Helgaas, and they strive for creative

Summers primarily exports their products to Canada, Russia,
and more recently, Australia with growing success. "We are a pretty small
company to have a global impact," says Idland, with about fifty employees
in Devis Lake and four in Aberdeen, SD. "But, once a country gets their
first taste of how tough our equipment is, they keep coming back. For example,
we have had such a huge surge in Russia, and our equipment has to be tough for
their environment," touts Idland.  
The company has found a niche where their products work well, and to
continue the momentum, maintaining their relationships and ongoing support in
those markets is necessary.  They have
had an employee in Russia for several years to cement their relationships in
the country.

Helgaas had three pieces of advice to share with new exporters
as they get into new markets:

  1. Align yourself with people already doing
    business in that country. There are a lot of challenges, but an ally can
    provide vital information and requirements you may not have considered.
  2. Make sure you are in a growth market. Don't go
    into a market that is on the downturn of expansion.
  3. Take exporting slow and steady. Take the time to
    get your feet wet.

Taking the initiative to find reliable resources, good
market data, and a measured approach will help new exporters maintain
scalability and lasting growth. Summers has ebbed and flowed over the years,
but the two explained their slow but steady expansion has paid off. The company
has gradually scaled up over time. Idland explains how manufacturing facilities
like Summers are harder to scale up or down quickly. It makes more sense to
grow slowly. Working on engaging businesses with longer contract life has been
essential to ensure that an investment in new facilities and new equipment for
expansion will pay off. 

Technology is infiltrating many aspects of life for
manufacturers like Summers. With opportunities to increase production speed and
accuracy, the company embraces new technology both on the manufacturing floor
and in its global relationships. Robotics have been incorporated into the
manufacturing facility with robotic welders and CNC press breaks that allow
precision sheet metal bending. These upgrades have been welcomed by many of the
workers. Idland explains that the robots save the employees time, increase efficiency,
and make work a little easier, so they are happy to have them.

For the sales and service team, the capability to have virtual
meetings with contacts overseas has been an essential part of the business over
the last year and a half. It has helped the company maintain relationships,
make deals, and keep the dialog going. "Getting real-time feedback from
potential customers overseas has been crucial. You can see their expressions,
hear the vitality in the conversations, and hopefully detect any unsureness
before it becomes an issue," says Helgaas. Inland also says the
opportunity to keep connecting with their overseas customers has been great. "It
is now possible for us to hop on a video call and show them how something works
in real-time instead of talking over the phone to try and understand each other's
needs." YouTube and other platforms have also played a role in showing the
customers how to utilize Summers products effectively, with more people having
access to quick answers and visual information.

Both Helgass and Idland note that supply chains have been an
ongoing issue on several fronts, like so many businesses and consumers,
products, and parts are running way behind."When it comes down to it,"
Helgaas says, "we [manufacturing companies] are all competing for the same
thing,  we all use the same steel, hoses,
and parts to manufacture our products, so this becomes difficult to ensure
everything is acquired." As so many manufacturers are waiting on parts for
their products, the media's magnification on shipping issues has provided
transparency from customers. "Everybody is frustrated with shipping. At
least with real-time information, some of the pain can be transferred off of
businesses like us, as it is a global issue," says Helgaas. The team
remains hopeful that many of these issues will resolve over the next few

Summers has built their reputation for building rugged equipment that meets farmers' needs and has continued to expand its products globally. And despite the global pandemic, they have found bright spots in communication and technology that have served them well. The innovative spirit of a farmer is embraced by this team of hard-working individuals. At the end of our conversation, Helgaas couldn't help but add that "this is a proud North Dakota company, it is made up of farmers, and that is something I will stand behind."

Tech & Trade: The Internet of Things

Tech & Trade: The Internet of Things

Posted on December 1, 2021

The first wave of the internet began with personal computers, moving quickly into people's homes. The second wave of the internet came with the cellular phone revolution, where so many more people have access to the internet in the palm of their hand. Now almost all electronic devices are or soon will have the ability to connect to the internet. This can be anywhere from e-readers and tablets to refrigerators, pacemakers, and components in manufacturing facilities.

Each physical device connected to the internet would be included as part of the Internet of Things  (IoT). Inexpensive computer chips and widespread wireless networking combined with sensors make up this network of smart devices that relay data back to a source in real-time for interpretation.

What makes the IoT confusing or complex is that it is not simply one thing. It can be something small and innocent like a kid's toy or a full-scale self-driving vehicle. Anything that can be connected to the internet with a sensor, microphone, camera, GPS, or item you can control remotely can be included as an IoT device.   These devices automatically send information back to a network for data collection without any human interaction. Once received, this data can be analyzed for future needs.

The term "Internet of Things" was actually coined in 1999 by British Technology pioneer Kevin Ashton, but the term has taken some time to take hold. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags were one of the earliest IoT applications, which allowed for tracking using a small radio transponder. Now, RFID tags are used in many applications like tracking vehicles through an assembly line and have been injected into livestock or our family pets to relay information about ownership.

More sophisticated technology continues to enter the market, enabling even more real-time data-driven applications to improve efficiency, identify problems, and make our world more agile when faced with change.

The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is also called the 4th industrial revolution, referring to IoT technology based in a business setting. The variety of applications for industrial uses are increasing. Manufacturers can track the lifespan of parts, detect when systems are deteriorating before a breakdown occurs, and track inventory or temperature sensors across facilities. By using these sensor technologies, reduction of waste is possible as crucial components can be repaired at first signs of distress. With a focus on reducing consumption and e-waste, IIoTs can assist with monitoring systems for proactive maintenance, repair indicators, and performance issues (Adams, 2021).

Entire cities are embracing IoT technology for smart lighting, traffic and surveillance cameras, environmental sensors, water filtration, power stations sensors, dams and bridges, and many more essential functions to fulfill their duties more effectively. It also allows city planners to be more informed of the happenings in these well-connected locations.

Ports are even taking advantage of this intelligent technology. Smart ports use automation, artificial intelligence (AI), and IoT technology to monitor traffic flows, cargo handling, energy use, and pollution control/monitoring. Primarily focused on seaports but expanding to inland ports, the need for increased efficiency has been amplified by the pandemic. Yahoo Finance predicts that smart port tech will grow from $1.7 billion today to a $5.1 billion industry by 2026 (Global Smart Ports Market Analysis and Forecasts to 2026: Asia Pacific Forecast to Grow at Highest CAGR During 2021 to 2026, 2021). The real-time data collected and analyzed has been immensely helpful to understand the problem areas to increase efficiencies. Smart ports are expanding throughout the Asia Pacific region as its maritime growth is high with lower production costs and expanding economic development.

By multiplying the IIoT beyond one company in a supply chain but across the whole system, real-time data, inventory tracking, and GPS systems could provide information across the globe for trade in the process of moving goods from their source through production to the consumer. Take overland trucking, for example, sensors in every truck can relay vehicle health information back to a central IoT platform, any malfunctions can be detected and managed instead of breaking down in inconvenient places, causing delays. Preventative maintenance can even be scheduled en route or before a pickup of goods happens. The real-time data of products can be a great tool even for sensing the internal conditions of the goods themselves. The last thing that is wanted is a container full of grain to be full of water, and these sensors can identify these types of issues in real-time and alert you to any situations that arise (Smith, 2021).   All of this can even be done remotely from across the globe, giving more oversight to the goods and their handling from anywhere (Velocity Global, 2018).

One of the major concerns about all of this connectedness and data collection is privacy and security. Experts say that many of these devices are not able to be patched or updated for any bad or hackable code, leaving them open to threats. And, depending on what sensors are in the device, this could have serious implications, like speakers that can record everything said or smartwatches that track location and movement. Security is not only a concern for consumers, but the security also extends to the IIoT technology that may even be running costly and dangerous industrial equipment and vehicles.   Beyond the hacking implications, creators of IoT tech likely collect and sell the data for marketing or analytics uses (Corefield, 2021). Many governments across the world are trying to regulate and control the information and security of these products. They often warn of unintended problems that could have a major impact on companies and consumers who have chosen to embrace the technology and not fully consider the risks.

Many ND companies are creating smart technology that will integrate farms, medical equipment, and Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) with a plethora of data collection tools all contributing to the IoT. Although many finer legal points will make headlines in the future, there are bright prospects for this type of integration globally. In the long term, we will likely see more transparency throughout the process of global trade if the technology is adopted and widespread.


Adams, T. (2021, August 26). Next Generation Supply Chain – Building The Circular Economy. Retrieved from Global Trade:

Corefield, G. (2021, August 23). European Commission Airs Out New IoT Device Security Draft Law – Interested Parties Have a Week to Weigh In. Retrieved from The Register:

Global Smart Ports Market Analysis and Forecasts to 2026: Asia Pacific Forecast to Grow at Highest CAGR During 2021 to 2026. (2021, August 24). Retrieved from Yahoo Finance:

Ranger, S. (2020, February 3). What is the IoT? Everything You Need to Know about the Internet of Things Right Now. Retrieved from ZDNet:

Smith, D. (2021, October 18). Keep an Eye on IoT: The Future is Now When it Comes to Tech's Role in Supply Chain Management. Retrieved from Global Trade:

Velocity Global. (2018, August 20). How the Internet of Things will Impact Global Business. Retrieved from Velocity Global:

NDTO Member Profile: AGT Foods

NDTO Member Profile: AGT Foods

Posted on November 4, 2021

AGT Foods, with two locations in ND (Minot and Williston), has become a global powerhouse in value-added pulse products. Starting in Regina, Canada, AGT Foods had the vision to keep the value-added processing facilities near the producers. The origin-based processing model has aided in global growth with this combination of producer/processor cooperation that serves the local community well. At the consumer level, many have not heard the name AGT Foods, but Eric Bartsch, Division Head, highlighted a variety of everyday products that have ingredients processed by AGT.  Their products include value-added pulses such as peas, lentils, chickpeas, beans and more.

AGT’s model of building processing facilities near the crop production adds value to that community, instead of the traditional model that exported raw products worldwide for value-added processing. “Within a 2-3 year period, we were able to become a dominate player in the pulse industry for value-added pulse products,” explains Bartsch. By bringing together quality pulse crop producers along with processing capabilities and technology, AGT was able to bring more to the table than other companies in the pulse ingredient market.

In 2013, AGT built its first large-scale facility for milling of pulses in Minot, ND. The operation focused on producing flours, proteins, starches, and fibers to be used as food ingredients.  In Minot, pulses are transformed using milling and extraction techniques, pulling out proteins, starch, and fiber to fit different market demands. This value-added process benefits ND in many ways, and Bartsch (a ND native) wouldn’t have it any other way, “this area is attractive because of its hard-working people, with strong ethics. The diversity of agriculture is also a key factor. This area can support anywhere from chickpeas to dry beans. Really, this region with its environment from people to the land is what created a thriving business.”

ND, SD, and MT produce a variety of high-quality pulse crops such as dry beans, lentils, and peas. There are many benefits in keeping the value-added processing and producers in close proximity. “We can see the market changes and anticipate the need with so many connections to the farmers themselves,” noted Bartsch.  Building and maintaining these relationships directly with the buyers and the producers, AGT can facilitate the perfect products and processing needs for all parties involved.

The pulse industry has seen great shifts in consumer demands over the past decade. In previous decades, the majority of pulse crops were heavily utilized in Asian and Middle Eastern markets, “now there is increased demand for these products across the US and other parts of the world,” explains Bartsch.  Consumers are more aware of their food's nutrition and ingredient makeup, and pulses have the perfect profile for supplementing those needs.  AGT’s processing facility goes beyond cleaning, splitting, and color sorting (although they do that too); the company has the technology to separate protein from starch and concentrates the results, uses non-chemical de-flavoring techniques, and much more to provide a variety of ingredients. Bartsch notes the changes in how consumers have increasingly adopted pulse products,  “there was a time when the only thing people knew what to do with a bag of split peas was making split pea soup, and now we see the ability of these products to be transformed into snack foods, beverages, and even pasta.”  More recently, VeggiPasta has hit the market for consumers as a pasta alternative and was developed in Minot, ND. The pea pasta is a successful gluten-free pasta alternative.

The company has expanded its model of origin-based processing, adding facilities in the US, Canada, Turkey, Australia, and South Africa. They have also expanded ingredient offerings with non-GMO, gluten-free, and non-allergenic products, all of which ship to more than 120 counties worldwide.  With so much product movement across the US and globally, AGT utilizes Minot’s intermodal facility with great success. But, like so many, transportation has been a challenge with the ongoing pandemic impact. Making the most of the obstacles, AGT has been able to work with US companies to help on-shore some activities and supply pulse products that were previously imported to US companies. They have also seen buying shifts that moved away from restaurant sales to focus on increases in consumer products. “We are starting to see some stabilization, overall, but it has been a mixed bag,” says Bartsch.

AGT is reimagining how pulse products and benefit all. “Prior to 2010, no one was transforming pulses as a functional ingredient. It just wasn’t done,” says Bartsch, “ but now, they can be made into snacks, drinks, and even burgers, but the innovation had to be there to make it happen.” By utilizing technology and creating new methods of processing, AGT continued to push the boundaries beyond traditional applications for pulse crops. Keeping the producers at center stage and leading innovation for pulse products globally will continue to be the focus of AGT Foods.

Inland Shipping and Logistics Continues to Impact Supply Chains

Inland Shipping and Logistics Continues to Impact Supply Chains

Posted on November 4, 2021

The NDTO has reported on the ongoing supply chain issue in 2021 but thought it would be prudent to provide an update on these continuing challenges.

We continue to see reports from the Port of Los Angeles/ Long Beach (the US’s largest ports) with a sea full of cargo ships waiting to dock. To aid in congestion, the White House requested ports to shift hours to be open 24/7. While the assistance at the ports is well-intentioned, there are still many struggles beyond the ports that continue to compound and have a downstream impact. Moving our focus inland,  more issues are coming to light as the supplies and containers make their way past the ports onto US soil.

Let’s take a look at what is happening beyond the ports. This will show that the ports are not the only problem, but the issue is part of the whole story of supply and logistic chains throughout the US. Once one problem gets better, another amplifies downstream in the supply chain. Essentially the bottleneck is being pushed along the whole chain.

Once containers arrive at ports,  containers need to be moved to a delivery destination. Now that the ports are open 24/7, FedEx and UPS have also committed to overnight operations to move cargo, but the rest of the cargo needs to be moved. More people and equipment are necessary to do that. Because the ports now have more working hours, the rest of the supply chain would need to adopt more hours to accommodate the increased movement across the board.

Trucks with associated drivers are the primary delivery method for moving containers out of the ports.  The US has been experiencing a shortage of truck drivers for several years and is now feeling the pressure more than ever. Even if drivers are found, training a truck driver for a Commercial Drivers License (CDL) takes anywhere from seven weeks to six months, depending on the program. The chassis used to move the containers are the attachment with wheels to a truck that holds the container for overland transport. Chassis have been backed order for nine months or more. Distribution centers have also been congested with cargo that is slow to unload and making the return of chassis for resue slower, which impacts the chassis shortage. Under normal conditions, chassis are returned within four days, but the return has been well over 15 days more recently. The reloaded chassis are often filled with agricultural goods and shipped back overseas, but with the rush of needing chassis, many are shipped outside of the US empty. This practice leaves more goods in the US and skyrockets pricing for anyone trying to fill containers and export. With limited drivers, limited chassis, and timing delays, the overland truck transports cannot keep up with the influx of cargo from ports.

Rail and intermodal facilities is another method of moving goods overland in the US. Railyards and intermodal facilities are essentially inland versions of ports, and they have struggled to keep up with the high demand. Inland facilities in the Midwest like Chicago were not able to quickly transfer containers from rail to delivery trucks. Typically these facilities have an order to stack and sort containers for movement. With the large influx of containers, there was no logical place to put them all, and frustrated truckers would drop off their loads (often empty) wherever there was room in the yard.  In many cases, this dropoff would block other containers (like double parking a car), and many yards quickly became disorganized.  In July 2021, Union Pacific halted all inbound trains from the west coast for two days to untangle the double-parked containers and chassis.  Reports surged that outside of Chicago, there were 25 miles of rail waiting to be unloaded. Bottlenecking the inland rail yards and truckers from moving anything as intended caused increased delays across the US.

In predictable times, all of these pieces come together like a well-oiled machine, but the whole system is impacted when something breaks. Equally, when something speeds up, like the extended hours at the ports, the rest of the chain also needs to speed up. If that does not happen, the chain continues to suffer. Some can be done in the future to help mitigate the chaos, but those projects are often not quick fixes.  Railyards and ports are also considering opening some abandoned yards for warehousing and infrastructure and technology upgrades, which will take time to get the system running more smoothly. Many experts are saying that time and patience are the cure for these issues to stabilize and that the supply chain and shipping issues will start to ease in February or March 2022. The NDTO remains hopeful that these challenges will improve in the near future.


Congestion, Weather and Chip Shortages Cloud Rail’s Outlook: Cowen

From Computer Chips to Wine Bottles, the Supply Chain Mess is Disrupting Idaho in a Big Way

Inside America’s Broken Supply Chain

Norfolk Southern Reports Record Earnings, but Crew Shortages Affect Service Levels

Speeding Up Flow of Cargo Through Ports Only Addresses a Small Part of the Problem

With the Holidays Ahead Supply Chain Issues Will Get Worse Before They Get Better

What You Should Know About the CPTPP

What You Should Know About the CPTPP

Posted on November 4, 2021

What is the CPTPP?

The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) is a free trade agreement with eleven participating countries, including Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru,  Singapore, and Vietnam.  The CPTPP came into force on December 30, 2018. The signatories make up 13.4% of global GDP with approximately $13.5 trillion US dollars. The agreement is now one of the largest free trade agreements in the world, alongside the US Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA), European Single Markets, and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

What is the impact?

The agreement strengthened ties between the participating countries and covered several groundbreaking issues with the increase of digitization in economies worldwide. Specific commitments outlined are investment, government procurement procedures, intellectual property,  state-owned enterprise regulations, environmental concerns,  labor issues, and small and medium enterprises obligations.

Japan remains the top export destination among the other ten CPTPP members and leads the group for many negotiations. The US has a high level of imports from CPTPP countries, but China continues to increase its imports from the countries as well.

Due to the ongoing global pandemic, the success of the CPTPP’s impact is challenging to measure, but some countries like Vietnam have shown a 6% growth in global exports in 2020. Brunei, Singapore, and Vietnam have also shown increased imports post CPTPP, but similar data shows this in the countries' overall import data from the world, not just members of the alliance.

The digital sphere has shown great promise globally, but statistics from CSIS support that data and digital services between CPTPP counties are specifically rising. The agreement has influenced eCommerce and the digital topics for discussion in other ongoing agreements such as the 2020 Digital Economy Partnership Agreement (DEPA), the Singapore-Australian Digital Economy Agreement (SADEA), and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership(RCEP).

Overall, the import trade data between CPTPP counties and imports data with the rest of the world remains consistent. The impact of the CPTPP and increased imports cannot be directly correlated at this time (Suominen, 2021).

A Little Bit of History:

As calls for the US to join the agreement come in, the history of how the CPTPP came to fruition is essential.  Trade talks began in 2005 between the US and some of the Pacific Rim countries, and additional countries proceeded to join the conversation into 2011 with twelve negotiating countries. By 2015 and 19  official rounds of negotiations, an agreement was made and signed in 2016 called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The TPP was a large trade agreement that would have comprised nearly 40% of the global economy with involvement from twelve Pacific Rim countries. The US withdrew its involvement due to shifts in domestic politics.  The remaining 11 countries, also known as TPP-11, continued with a similar agreement called the CPTPP. This agreement moved forward in December 2018 and replicated many of the measures from the TPP.

There are a few differences between the original TPP and the CPTPP, many of them were items strongly valued by the US, and without US involvement, the unpopular items were sidelined. The CPTPP has less regulation than the TPP had regarding intellectual property rights, environmental provisions, and labor rights. It is also important to note that CPTPP indicates that these measures are "suspended," not removed, indicating their potential reinstatement should the US choose to join the agreement in the future (McBride, Chatzky, & Siripurapu, 2021).

The US may find it beneficial to join the agreement if negotiations are made to ensure stronger labor standards, intellectual property rights, and environmental provisions. But currently, the US has not applied to join the agreement as it stands.

Looking Ahead:

The agreement was created with expansion in mind, and since its creation, many countries have expressed interest in joining.  The CPTPP has a number of applications waiting to be confirmed, including The United Kingdom (UK), China, and Taiwan.

During the June 2021 meeting of the CPTPP, members agreed to review and proceed with the application for the UK. In the UK, concerns have been raised about the UK's high standards for pesticide use, animal welfare, and food labels, and not wanting to lower standards to let in less scrutinized products. An appointed working group is underway, and admittance is anticipated for early 2022 if conditions are favorable.

In September 2021, China and Taiwan independently applied to join the CPTPP, and the committee will work through their process for confirmation. China's approval will likely take more negotiations to meet each measure in the CPTPP than the UK's pending approval.

Several countries, including Japan, say they would welcome the US into the CPTPP but also caution that they are unwilling to renegotiate the provisions (McBride, Chatzky, & Siripurapu, 2021). The call for the US to join the CPTPP would be seen as an act of stability with recent tensions building in China with many other nations (Okutsu, 2021).

Several other countries have expressed interest in joining the CPTPP, and a few were previously involved with the TPP, including the US, the Philippines, and South Korea. To join the CPTPP, unanimous consent from all members is required, which may play a role in the future of the agreement and its participants.

At this time, none of these countries have submitted formal applications to join the CPTPP. As it stands, the CPTPP's success is difficult to measure with global changes due to the pandemic, but there is a promising outlook as the parties involved continue to deepen ties and admit like-minded countries.

NDTO will contiune to monitor the CPTPP for updates and keep you informed.


McBride, J., Chatzky, A., & Siripurapu, A. (2021, September 21). What’s Next for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)? Retrieved from Concil on Foreign Relations:

Okutsu, A. (2021, October 23). NIkkei Asia. Retrieved from Japan Foreign Minister Calls for U.S. to join CPTPP:

Suominen, K. (2021, August 9). CSIS. Retrieved from Two Years into CPTPP:

WTO Members Review CPTPP at 100th Session of Committee on Regional Trade Agreements. (2021, June 22). Retrieved from World Trade Organization:

Member Profile: Swanson Health Products

Member Profile: Swanson Health Products

Posted on September 2, 2021

Swanson Health Products (SHP) will soon become a household name, not only in the US but internationally, says Chase Bischof, a Sales and Marketing Analyst at SHP. With their increasing brand recognition for their excellent products and health-conscious consumers on the rise, the business is growing quickly. SHP started back in the 1960s with Leland Swanson, who was experiencing arthritis pain during his golf game. Through much research and success with supplements himself, he was eager to share what he had learned. And so, Swanson Health Products was born. It was originally a catalog and mail order business. Now, it includes a large warehouse, office headquarters, and the company’s only retail store, all based in Fargo, ND. They have also expanded with other warehouses and processing facilities strategically located across the US.

The company has been a local provider for health and wellness goods for more than 50 years, focusing on providing quality, science-supported, and affordable products. With these fundamentals established, the brand has grown beyond ND with a solid footing in the US and expanding further.
SHP is growing internationally, explains Bischof, “it began in response to a wide variety of international retailers looking for high-quality and affordable US brands in their local markets.” SHP has a strong international presence already, with authorized distributors serving more than 40 countries worldwide. With this increase in international interest, “we have embarked on a journey to partner with both traditional distributors and with larger, expert supply chains with sophisticated and efficient partners to reach many more global consumers,” explains Bischof.

Working internationally always comes with challenges.“But something Swanson does well, especially with our international clients, is to listen. They know their market best, and we want to provide them the resources they need to succeed. Listening to their needs becomes a huge part of everyone’s success,” says Bischof. Keeping the message clear and “crisp” is also a strength that has done SHP well throughout its business expansion. Keeping true to offering pure and potent health products at a great value and keeping that message consistent has increased their brand recognition and consumer trust.

As the pandemic continues, many consumers have become increasingly health-conscious, which has been good news for companies like SHP, who want to provide goods that support a variety of healthy lifestyles. And as supply chains and shipping situations are improving, the efficiency to get goods overseas is only increasing.

SHP most recently completed a Swanson Cares charity golf event this August, which raised funds to support a variety of local nonprofits. The Swanson Cares program was built as the nonprofit arm for SHP to support healthier communities initiative. The donations have gone to Ronald McDonald House Charities, the Rape and Abuse Crisis Center, and the YWCA in the Fargo-Moorhead community.

The company is also proud to host an upcoming District Export Council meeting for ND/MN area. The event includes ND Senator Hoeven and MN Senator Klobuchar, who will discuss the exporting environment throughout the region and how to improve and expand borders and market opportunities for many local businesses.

Continuing to maintain SHP’s community footing along with their goals for global expansion of their products seems to be second nature to their loyal and hard-working staff. Consistency through the generations and keeping true to their passion for quality health-oriented products at a great value has done the company well. As SHP looks to the future of becoming a household name, it seems they are well on their way.

Burgum, Sanford meet with Japanese Business Delegation to Discuss Trade Opportunities

Burgum, Sanford meet with Japanese Business Delegation to Discuss Trade Opportunities

Posted on September 2, 2021

From the Office of North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum

BISMARCK, N.D. – Gov. Doug Burgum and Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford today met with members of a Japanese business delegation to discuss opportunities for partnership and investment in North Dakota’s economy and advancing North Dakota’s carbon neutrality goal.

During the discussions with the Japanese External Trade Organization (JETRO), Burgum and Sanford shared information about the continued growth and potential for carbon capture, storage and utilization (CCUS), enhanced oil recovery, using carbon in agriculture and the future of hydrogen in North Dakota. Burgum also highlighted his challenge for North Dakota to become a carbon-neutral state by 2030, emphasizing the administration’s approach of innovation over regulation.

“North Dakota has big opportunities in energy, agriculture and technology, and we are looking for partners in research and investment,” Burgum said. “We are excited to welcome these Japanese companies to our state and begin building the partnerships that will benefit North Dakota citizens for decades to come.”

“We continue to look for ways to attract investment and increase trade with foreign countries,” said Sanford, who serves as chair of the North Dakota Trade Office Board. “We are very pleased to have this delegation, representing a large number of Japanese businesses and organizations, here to visit about our future goals and present opportunities for North Dakota and Japan.”

Burgum and Sanford provided remarks during a daylong meeting organized and hosted by the North Dakota Department of Commerce and the North Dakota Trade Office. Companies in attendance included Toshiba America Energy Systems Corp., Kawasaki Heavy Industries (USA) Inc., Hitachi Zosen Inova, Mitsubishi Power Americas Inc., Toyota Motor North America, Choshu Industry Corp. of America Inc., Kanematsu USA Inc., Mitsui & Co. USA Inc., and Sumitomo Corp. Americas (Energy Group). Also in attendance were Haruka Sakamoto from the Consulate-General of Japan in Chicago and representatives from JETRO Chicago, JETRO Los Angeles and Keidanren USA. The delegation will participate tomorrow in a driving tour of North Dakota energy sites and visit Medora.

African Swine Fever Increasingly Threatens Pork in North America and Globally

African Swine Fever Increasingly Threatens Pork in North America and Globally

Posted on August 13, 2021

The African Swine Fever Virus (ASF) is a highly contagious hemorrhagic virus that exclusively infects pigs. Some farmers have experienced nearly 100% loss of herds, and the impact has expanded globally across Europe and Asia. In early August, the Dominican Republic identified two cases of ASF. Now that the virus has moved closer to the US, diligence to protect North American herds is more important than ever. The cases in the Dominican Republic are the first known detections of ASF in the Americas in  40 years, and there has never been a confirmed case in the US. Prevention, identification, and containment are the best ways to save the swine population from infection as there is no vaccine or treatment currently available.

"We need to take African Swine Fever seriously," says ND State Veterinarian and Animal Health Division Director Dr. Ethan Andress. "ND has a significant number of pigs, and although there is not a human risk, the economic and swine impact could be devastating both locally and nationally to the swine industry." Greater care should be taken from travelers and veterinarians to ensure proper sanitation to ensure infected items do not make it into the US. "We saw what happened in China with the devastation to their hog populations, we don't want that to happen here, and prevention is our best course of action," says Dr. Andress. The 2018 outbreak of ASF in China spread across the region and has reduced the global pig herds by nearly 25%, and they are now facing variants and additional waves.

"As the world opens up to international travelers, it is important that anyone visiting agriculture or food processing facilities take caution and thoroughly clean any items worn during their visit before returning to the US," says Drew Combs, the Executive Director of the North Dakota Trade Office.  These practices are essential to keeping unwanted viruses such as ASF from infecting other countries. The long lifespan of the virus contributes to the importance of good hygiene and sanitization of anything that could potentially come in contact with ASF.

What makes this virus particularly challenging to eradicate is its stability. Studies presented by the ND Livestock Alliance show that the virus can remain stable for 150 days in bones stored below 40⁰ F, 140 days in dried and salted ham, and can live for several years in frozen meat. The virus can also spread through animal feed and fertilizers. The incubation period is 5-21 days and can move more quickly when acquired by tick bites—the transmission from swine to swine occurs through bodily secretions and excretions, particularly through the nose and mouth. The animals, feed, and their products must be sanitized and closely monitored for spread.

Tamera Heins, the Executive Director of the ND Pork Council, explains, "security will be amped up in airports for any travelers from the Dominican Republic to ensure ASF does not get through."  Amber Boeshans, the Executive Director of the ND Livestock Alliance, highlights that the "African Swine Fever only causes illness in pigs and this is not a threat to human health. We want to continuously remind export partners and our consumers here at home that US pork products are safe to eat. However, the US hog industry moves around the country quite frequently. We all need to be doing our part to keep biosecurity as tight as possible. Following the best practices and going the extra mile to ensure we are minimizing this health risk to America's pig herd."  Making sure that clothing, especially shoes, are sanitized will be essential to keep this virus out of North America.

If ASF reaches the US, pork exports will cease, feed exports will also be halted, and swine sales will significantly decrease. There will also be impacts on the native herds with higher mortality rates, and commodity prices will see a deep drop in pork and feed-related products. Containment and diligence are needed to control borders. The US, Canada, and Mexico have already increased their efforts after the Dominican Republic outbreak.

Tackling ASF globally is a collaborative effort using both private and public resources to spread the word, not the virus. The measures put in place by the National Pork Industry Board should be followed to combat the exposure and spread of the virus. This includes sanitization of clothing, equipment, and other items used in the processing, research, laboratories, and fresh animal producers.


Pork Industry Guidelines for International Travel and Biosecurity

Research Prioritizes African Swine Fever Prevention and Preparedness

African Swine Fever Inches Closer To The U.S. With Infections In Dominican Republic

Welcome the Two New NDTO Board Members

Welcome the Two New NDTO Board Members

Posted on August 5, 2021

The North Dakota Trade Office (NDTO) is excited to welcome Kermit Nash and Bill Price to the Board of Directors. Both members will bring an enormous amount of experience in business domestically and internationally, which will serve ND companies well in their efforts to expand global trade. Each new member will bring fresh ideas and insights into their positions with enthusiasm and a love for ND.

Kermit Nash, an ND native, is a partner at Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr with nearly 20 years of experience in domestic and international law, emphasizing in business operations, governance, strategy, and investments. With a vast portfolio of clients, Nash assists businesses in a variety of sectors, including software, agribusiness, energy, food processing, manufacturing, and eCommerce. He has also provided counsel to on and offshore companies making their moves for expansion beyond their domestic borders.  Nash believes in the value of ND businesses operations that serve their local communities while also competing in the global market.

Bill Price is a fourth-generation farmer and rancher in ND. He is the owner of Global Beef Consultants and has a multitude of business experience in the state as a managing partner of Price Cattle Ranch LLP and Sunnyside Feeds LLC.. He was an integral part of starting Red Trail Energy ethanol plant and has advised and served on many boards in the past. Price continues to cooperate with many businesses locally and internationally to expand ND’s reach..  With his appointment to the NDTO board, he hopes to expand export opportunities for ND businesses, help them think globally, and remove barriers that inhibit trade.

The NDTO is looking forward to the addition of Nash and Price to the board of directors and hopes that this synergy will benefit many ND companies for many years to come.

eCertificates of Origin Available Through NDTO

eCertificates of Origin Available Through NDTO

Posted on August 5, 2021

The North Dakota Trade Office is excited to announce that eCertificate of Origin processing is now available through our website. This new service will streamline the Certificate of Origin paperwork process to reduce time and costs in obtaining this necessary documentation for export.

In partnership with the American World Tade Chamber of Commerce (AWTCC), an eCertificate of Origin can be provided on average within one hour of documentation submission. The electronic iterations can benefit your company by:

  • Improving turnaround times to meet tight deadlines
  • Reduce errors to alleviate complications at customs
  • Reduce costs for couriers and wait time
  • Real-time information on submission status
  • Customers can verify eCertificates online

Certificates of Origin are used throughout the world in trade transactions and are recognized by nearly every country. The documentation is used to determine the goods' provenance, legal identification for tariffs and quotas, and identify if the good is legally allowed for import. For a refresher, see an introduction on Certifications of Origin.

The electronic versions improve the overall digital efficiency and security of the exporting package. They eliminate the risk of misplacing or mishandling the documents. The World Trade Organization has even set regulations and approves of the use of eCertificates. The necessary information to complete both the paper and electronic forms are almost identical.

This program has been an exciting step for NDTO to assist more ND companies. "Rural companies in North Dakota will likely benefit the most from this service, saving them staff and travel time to complete the certificate," says Jiwon Kim, NDTO's International Business Executive. He goes on to say that "companies who need quick access to Certificate of Origin documents will also find this as a great solution to get everything you need without leaving your desk." For NDTO member companies, the service is provided for $20 , and outside organizations can utilize the system for $50 per certificate. With this value-added service, NDTO hopes to support more ND companies and reduce time and stress on your company's exporting team.

Getting started is easy. Follow the step-by-step instructions are available here. With any questions or for more information on Certificate of Origin documentation, reach out to the NDTO team at