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Ohio ag leaders explore business prospects with Israel
By VICKI JOHNSON
Ohio Correspondent

REYNOLDSBURG, Ohio — Agricultural leaders and Ohio farmers will explore joint business opportunities with Israel during a trip to that country May 3-12.

The trip, hosted by the Ohio Department of Agriculture and the Negev Foundation of Cleveland, is the second this year. The first one was in late February and early March.

“Essentially the first mission a couple of months ago was more a farmer-to-farmer type mission and this one is more business-oriented,” said LeeAnne Mizer of the ODA Communications office.

“Ultimately, that’s the underlying reason,” she said. “To build the connection with that region and to encourage them to invest in Ohio.”

Ohio Department of Agriculture Assistant Director Howard Wise, Negev Foundation’s Dr. Sarah Horowitz, and 14 other agricultural leaders will travel to Israel to discuss agricultural trading relationships between the two regions. The mission is part of the Ohio-Israel Agricultural Initiative, a project designed to identify opportunities between Ohio and Israel primarily in agriculture and to strengthen economic ties.

“Ohio’s agricultural industry aggressively pursues international opportunities by creating awareness and demand for agricultural products,” said Ohio Agriculture Director Fred L. Dailey in a news release. “This, in turn, creates more jobs for our citizens and adds to the state’s multi-billion dollar food and agricultural economy.”

Mission participants will include representatives from the department, the Negev Foundation, Ohio Soybean Council, Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, County Commissioners Association of Ohio, Ohio State University South Centers, Southern Ohio Agriculture & Community Development Foundation, Crawford County Commissioners Office, Hocking College and several Ohio farmers.

During the trip, they will visit several food and agribusinesses, meet with American and Israeli agricultural government officials, and attend Agritech ‘06, an international agricultural exhibition, during which the representatives will conduct business meetings.

The Negev Foundation, headquartered in Cleveland, coordinates research and development projects and raises funds for programs that contribute to the economic self-sufficiency of Israel’s Negev region.

Since 2002, the foundation has been coordinating programs between the two regions to benefit both Ohio and Israel through the Ohio-Israel Agriculture Initiative.

The initiative - the first of its kind - has been successful in several projects, including the export of feeder calves, hardwoods, honey and pet food; the import of Israeli products such as an automatic calf feeding monitoring system and dairy processing equipment; and joint projects such as turf grass improvement engineering, drip irrigation, aquaculture, food security, organic pesticides and a model commercial greenhouse.

The foundation also sponsors student and farmer exchange programs.

In the future, the foundation hopes to expand the program into more states and other Middle Eastern countries.

This farm news was published in the April 26, 2006 issue of Farm World.

4/26/2006