Governor Mark Dayton recently led a trade mission to South Korea to help Minnesota companies build business relationships, explore new market opportunities and increase sales. Kathy Skiba, a dairy farmer from North Branch, Minnesota, joined his delegation as a representative of Minnesota’s dairy producers through the Midwest Dairy Association that provides the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s membership to the U.S. Dairy Export Council.
While meeting with cooperatives, Skiba discovered that Korea has some campaigns similar to that of US.
Skiba was pleased to be given additional questions about dairy when visiting the South Korea Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. She says they are struggling with Korean children not getting enough dairy calcium and she was able to share about her experience with promotion and education here in the US.
Skiba says this was an experience she will not forget.
With the passing of those agreements, Skiba says that it will immediately provide duty-free agricultural products which is important for Minnesota agriculture. Specifically for dairy, Skiba says it would establish some tariff-free quotas and immediate duty-free volumes to maybe double the current shipment volumes to Korea, which dairy has already increased by 113 percent this year.
Skiba says that during this trip she made the connections that improved and will benefit their trade relationship with South Korea.
Other activities Skiba took part in include a 12 course Korean meal, a meeting with the Korean trade association, touring a new grain facility and a soybean cracking plant and visiting a small dairy farm. She says the average size of a diary farm there is about 50 to 60 cows.
Skiba says she is thankful for the opportunity, now has friends in South Korea and will treasure her experience for life.