North Dakota hosted a large number of international visitors from more than 15 countries during the Big Iron International Visitors Program, the portion of the Big Iron Farm Show connecting international agriculture equipment buyers with North Dakota businesses. The International Visitors Program (IVP) was held Sept. 9-12 and was organized by the North Dakota Trade Office (NDTO) with the cooperation of the U.S. Commercial Service.
International delegates were welcomed on Monday, September 9 by Lieutenant Governor Brent Sanford, who is also the chairman of the NDTO Board of Directors, and North Dakota companies at a lunch and exhibition at the Delta in Fargo. In the afternoon, delegates attended a farm tour and welcome reception. The Big Iron IVP continued throughout the week with participants meeting one-on-one with North Dakota companies and attending the Big Iron Farm Show, dealership tours and educational sessions.
Delegations from countries including Russia, Romania, Ethiopia, Uruguay, Kenya, Liberia and Australia met with equipment dealers and agribusiness professionals to learn more about North Dakota agricultural practices and technology, and purchase equipment. This year’s Big Iron International Visitors Program had the highest number of international participants since 2013.
“We’re excited to welcome more than 100 international visitors to learn about the innovation happening in our state’s agricultural sector and to introduce them to North Dakota ag products and equipment,” said Lieutenant Governor Sanford. “From specialty crops to machinery, we continue to find success by promoting our state’s high-quality products to global markets with growing demand, and we look forward to forming new partnerships and strengthening existing relationships over these next three days at Big Iron.”
Big Iron international visitors are recruited through the U.S. Commercial Service’s office in Fargo and via their branch locations throughout the world.
“The U.S. Commercial Service takes the lead on Big Iron international recruiting efforts by leveraging its network of offices at U.S. Embassies and Consulates all over the world,” said Heather Ranck, Director of the U.S. Commercial Service in Fargo, ND. “This year, our multilingual team member Joshua Erickson sent hundreds of personalized and timely messages and reminders to our vast network of contacts, and due to the effectiveness of this strategy, we expect strong participation.”
North Dakota company participants included agricultural equipment manufacturers and dealers, agriculture service providers, commodity storage and processing equipment manufacturers, educational institutions and research specialists.
NDTO is a member-based, public-private organization dedicated to expanding North Dakota’s exports through advocacy, education and expertise. All trade missions and reverse trade missions are designed to assist North Dakota companies in finding potential partners and making overseas sales; these initiatives are open to the public.