SB&B Foods, Inc., a Casselton, N.D., company that produces and markets identity preserved crops, was named North Dakota’s Exporter of the Year March 22 in Fargo.
The award was one of North Dakota’s two international business awards presented by Gov. John Hoeven during Global Business Connections, a two-day international business conference designed to link the state’s emerging and experienced exporters with trade professionals from around the world.
Hoeven presented the International Business Award to Fredrikson & Byron, a Minneapolis-based law firm recognized for excellence in helping North Dakota businesses succeed in international markets.
“North Dakota’s 2006 exporter of the year took giant steps in the global marketplace,” Hoeven said. “SB&B Foods, established nearly 100 years ago, truly represents the promise that North Dakota’s high-quality goods and services have in markets throughout the world.”
SB&B Foods is one of about 400 exporters in the state,” North Dakota Trade Office Executive Director Susan Geib said.
Robert Sinner, president of SB &B Foods, said the company’s international success began 20 years ago. He recalled waking up in a Tokyo hotel room, wondering if he and his partners were on the right business path.
“We’re certainly humbled to receive the award among such an accomplished group of exporters in the state,” Sinner said.
Last year, SB&B Foods entered six new countries and increased its export sales by 44 percent. The company’s international success also supports 85 other farmers who are contracted by SB&B to grow identity preserved crops on about 20,000 acres. Identity preserved crops, including non-GMO soybeans, are grown using stringent production standards and can be traced from the field to the plate.
SB&B Foods’ international marketing efforts in 2006 included opening sales offices in Taiwan and China, and participating in several state trade missions.
SB&B Foods also was recognized for its community service. Company officials have volunteered their time to assist other North Dakota businesses regarding procurement strategies, export sales transactions and other issues. SB&B Foods President Robert Sinner also volunteers his time and expertise to help improve the state’s intermodal transportation system for the benefit of all North Dakota shippers.
Fredrikson & Byron received the 2006 International Business Resource Award because the law firm has demonstrated a lasting commitment to North Dakota’s exporters, Hoeven said.
Attorneys from Fredrikson & Byron worked with six North Dakota companies last year, providing legal services that resulted in successful international business ventures. The law firm’s attorneys meet with groups of North Dakota exporters to educate them on issues including international distribution strategies and who to identify export opportunities.
Fredrikson & Byron attorneys also have attended in North Dakota trade missions, providing delegates with free initial consultations during business negotiations and they have assisted other North Dakota companies by offering initial consultations at no cost to analyze international expansion plans.
“We’re excited to work with such great North Dakota companies with high-quality products, innovation and effective business leaders,” said Asmah Tareen, a Cavalier, N.D., native and senior associate attorney with the law firm.
About 350 people attended Global Business Connections, including the conference’s keynote address by Rich Karlgaard, publisher of Forbes magazine. The conference included 16 sessions hosted by international trade professionals from throughout the United States and six foreign countries.
Global Business Connections, held at the Ramada Plaza Suites in Fargo, was sponsored by the North Dakota Trade Office and its network of international business partners.