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NDTO News Article

Euro Trade Mission Reaps Sales and Relationships

A recent trade mission to Europe is generating sales of North Dakota crops to some of the largest food buyers and processors in Europe.

Initial sales of peas and lentils total more than $125,000, making the trade mission a major success. The trade delegation’s primary goal was to build new business relationships in an export market with large potential for North Dakota producers, said Eric Bartsch, executive director of the North Dakota Dry Pea and Lentil Association.

A seven-member trade mission representing four North Dakota companies left Oct. 15 on a 10-day trip to meet with some of the largest food processors and importers in Italy, Spain and France.

Canada currently is the dominate exporter of legume crops to the three European countries.

“I think there is a lot of business that can be done over there,” said Justin Flaten, owner of JM Grain in Garrison. “It’s time we become competitive in that market.

Since returning from Europe, JM Grain has sold two shipments of lentils and chickpeas to buyers in Spain. JM Grain also is following up on about 15 sales inquiries, Flaten said.

Other participating companies also reported sales and many inquiries that have led to contract negotiations.

“We’ve got our foot in the door and we’re very happy about that,” said Les Knudson, president of Superior Grains in Crosby. “They could be very good customers in the future – to the tune of millions of dollars.”

Other companies that participated in the trade mission were West Dakota Feed and Seed of Ross and Paulson Premium Seed of Bowman.

The trade mission was sponsored by the North Dakota Trade Office and the North Dakota Dry Pea and Lentil Association.