North Dakota hosted more than 75 international visitors from 15 countries in September as part of the Big Iron International Visitor’s Program, the international portion of the Big Iron Farm Show that connects North Dakota agribusinesses with international buyers. The program, which ran Sept. 8-11, is facilitated by the North Dakota Trade Office (NDTO) and the US Commercial Service.
“North Dakota is honored to once again welcome visitors from around the world to our state as part of the Big Iron International Visitors Program,” said Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley, chairman of the NDTO Board of Directors. “This successful, annual event is part of our broad strategy to promote North Dakota’s quality products in high-demand markets throughout the world, and it’s a strategy that has been extremely successful for the State of North Dakota.”
In addition to touring the Big Iron Farm Show, international guests attended in-field equipment demonstrations, farm and ranch tours, educational discussions, buyer-seller receptions and other events as part of the International Visitors Program.
International delegations at the event were from China, Denmark, Ethiopia, Germany, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Mexico, Mongolia, South Africa, Sweden, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Zambia. Many of these delegations were led by specialists from the US Commercial Service offices in their respective countries.
Twenty-three North Dakota companies are participated in the program to promote their products to serious international buyers. These companies consisted of agricultural machinery manufacturers and a wide variety of agribusiness companies including seed producers and distributors, food-grade commodity producers, agriculture service providers, commodity storage and handling systems, livestock producers as well as educational institutions and researcher specialists.
NDTO managed the International Visitors Center where guests can met with local company representatives in private meeting rooms, took advantage of volunteer interpreters and Internet access. In addition, NDTO and participating North Dakota companies led their international guests on educational livestock and crop facility tours on Sept. 10 and 11.
NDTO began hosting international buyers during the Big Iron Farm Show in 2007, following a trade mission that brought several leaders from North Dakota agricultural equipment companies to Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Russia. Since the inception of the Big Iron International Visitors Program, the event has hosted nearly 850 international visitors from 39 countries.
Big Iron, held at the Red River Valley Fairgrounds, features more than 800 exhibitors and attracts approximately 80,000 visitors annually.