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News Release

Release No. 0411.09
Contact:
Office of Public Affairs (202) 720-7115

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FOREIGN AGRICULTURAL OFFICIALS TO VISIT NEW HAMPSHIRE AND VERMONT

WASHINGTON, Aug. 28, 2009 – USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) announced today that foreign agricultural officials representing 23 countries will tour New Hampshire and Vermont Aug. 31 through Sept. 4 to see food and agricultural products in those states as part of an annual FAS orientation tour.

"International trade plays a critical role in the health and development of the agricultural economy," said FAS Administrator Michael Michener. "FAS' orientation tours not only showcase U.S. farm and food products, but facilitate the face-to-face interactions that open and expand opportunities for US producers and enhance global food security."

From Connecticut to Maine, New England produces a wide variety of food and agricultural products that are exported worldwide. According to the latest data available, the region's agricultural exports reached $488 million in 2007, accounting for almost 19 percent of New England's farm economy. These agricultural exports help boost farm prices and income, while supporting more than 5,000 jobs both on and off the farm in food processing, transportation, and manufacturing.

This year's tour will begin in Weare, N.H., and finish in Greensboro, Vt. Some of the destinations include Abigail's Organic Bakery; the Stonyfield farm yogurt facility; Local Harvest, a Community Supported Agriculture operation; and the University of New Hampshire in Durham, where officials will visit an organic dairy farm complex, a student-operated dairy, and a horticulture research farm.

The group will continue to Vermont to visit a maple syrup operation; an apple cider mill; and an independent organic seed business. Officials will wrap up the tour by visiting an organic vegetable farm; a Community Supported Enterprise that specializes in food prepared with local ingredients; and a cheese production operation. Foreign officials pay for their own travel, lodging, and expenses.

Foreign agricultural officials scheduled to participate in the tour include:

Australia: Simon Smalley, Minister Counselor (Agriculture); Austria: Hans Kordik, Counselor (Agriculture and Environment); Canada: Chris Leggett, First Secretary (Agriculture and Trade Policy); Egypt: Dr. Ismail Hussein, Counselor (Agriculture); European Union—Delegation of the European Commission: Dan Rotenberg, Counselor (Agricultural Affairs); Fiji: Sili Lomalagi, Second Secretary; Finland: Marja Kuosmanen, Minister Counselor; France: Christian Ligeard, Counselor (Agriculture); Germany: Joachim Schaefer, Minister Counselor (Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection); Hungary: Attila Tóth, Secretary (Agricultural Affairs); Jamaica: Dr. David Lowe, Ministry of Agriculture; Japan: Hiroaki Kojima, First Secretary (Agriculture); Korea: Yang Ho Lee, Counselor (Agriculture); Malaysia: Ram Singh Hari Singh, Counselor (Agriculture); Mexico: Carlos Vazquez, Minister Counselor (Agriculture); New Zealand: Terry Meikle, First Secretary (Trade and Agriculture); Northern Ireland Bureau: Aidan Cassidy, First Secretary and Deputy Director; Philippines: Dr. Josyline "Joy" Javelosa, Agricultural Attaché; Sierra Leone: Sheku Mesali, Counselor, Economics and Agricultural Affairs; Switzerland: Stephan Schmid, First Secretary (Economic Affairs); Thailand: Tanida Sitchawat, Second Secretary (Agriculture) and Yupawan Utiskul, (Organic Food and Agriculture); United Kingdom: Robin Twyman, First Secretary (Trade, Business, and Agriculture); Vietnam: Liem Bui, Head Counselor (Economic Section), Lam Hong Le, Counselor (Economic Section) and Vinh Do, Commercial Attaché.

U.S. agricultural officials scheduled to participate in the tour include:

Kathleen Merrigan, USDA Deputy Secretary of Agriculture; Suzanne Palmieri, Senior Advisor to the Deputy Secretary of Agriculture; Allen Alexander, Director, USDA-FAS' Foreign Visitors and Protocol Branch; Lorraine S. Merrill, Commissioner, New Hampshire Department of Agriculture, Markets and Food; Gail McWilliam Jellie, Division Director, Agricultural Development New Hampshire Department of Agriculture, Markets and Food; Vickie Smith, Organics Program, Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets; Roger Allbee, Secretary, Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets; David Lane, Deputy Secretary, Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets; Kelly Loftus, Communications Director, Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets.

For more information about the tour, contact Allen Alexander, Director, FAS's Foreign Visitors and Protocol Branch, at (202) 720-9860, or by e-mail at Allen.Alexander@fas.usda.gov .

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