Coleman Dairy an Unexpected Winner at Arkansas Export Awards

by Mark Carter  on Wednesday, May. 23, 2012 1:40 pm  

Mike Flagg accepts an export award on behalf of Coleman Dairy. (Photo by Mike Pirnique)

Trump Tours is another business for which exporting doesn't immediately come to mind. Its innovative model exports group travel services by arranging trips for folks interested in learning more about American agriculture. Tours are customized based on a group's needs.

Trump also sends American farmers to other countries.

Riceland was honored for its longtime exporting efforts. The rice and agricultural cooperative has annual sales of more than $1 billion, with one-third of its rice and all its wheat exported to more than 65 foreign countries. 

CEO Danny Kennedy said 40 percent of Riceland's profit is devoted to exports.

One of the first Arkansas companies to be recognized for exporting in 2010, Keith Smith Co. provides broiler hatching eggs to the poultry industry. Its exports have grown to account for 45 percent of its business.

Gov. Mike Beebe hosted the event, which filled the mansion's banquet hall, and said the state could create more jobs if more companies embraced exporting. 

"In order to expand our ability to attract business from other countries, we have to expand the markets for our businesses to other places," he said.

Keynote speaker Dave Hudson, director of marketing for UPS and based in St. Louis, said a fundamental shift is taking place in developing markets with an increasing middle class that desires American products. Exporting is the only way to tap that growing market, he said.

"What better path to growth is there available for American business," he asked. "There's not one."

Patricia Gonzalez, director of the Arkansas office of the U.S. Export Assistance Center was honored for her three years at the helm. She will leave her Arkansas post on June 1 to take an assignment as the deputy senior commercial officer at the U.S. Mission to the European Union in Brussels.

Gonzalez is credited with energizing the exporting community in the state, including the reinvigoration of the Arkansas District Export Council and the creation of her office's Export University, a global trade tutorial for small- and medium-sized businesses.



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