Mid-summer, I received a letter from Montana Governor Steve Bullock’s office inviting me to be a member of a trade mission delegation to Taiwan and South Korea. Receiving this letter was the equivalent of Cinderella receiving an invitation to the Prince’s ball. That is, I feel out of my element, but oh, so thrilled to be asked. My family rallied to provide the resources to make the trip a reality. And so, I have been preparing for the last ten weeks or so to go to Asia.

To connect a lot of dots in a fairly short amount of time, I’m going to Taipei and Seoul as part of an official Montana Trade Mission Delegation. South Korea is Montana’s second largest trading partner, while the combined Taiwan and China markets rank as the third largest buyers of Montana products. You can find an infographic here for trade stats  –montana trade stats This is the fourth such recent trade mission to foreign countries for Montana. https://governor.mt.gov/Newsroom/ArtMID/28487/ArticleID/1750

My goals for this trip are to use my anthropological and business skills to learn more about the Taiwan and South Korean markets for Montana grown organic products. Montana grows some of the best organic agricultural products in the world.

Today, I traveled to Helena with my childhood friend Brad Reid, President of Diversified Plastics, to attend an orientation meeting with the Governor, his staff, and others who are part of the trade mission. Governor Bullock shared his vision of a mission that will build relationships between people interested in conducting business across the Pacific. Dr. Abraham Kim, Director of the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Center at the University of Montana (UM) provided a cultural overview of doing business in both Taiwan and South Korea. Luke Wallawander with the Montana World Trade Center shared with the us the resources that are available through that entity, also housed at UM. Sue Leferink provided some tips and suggestions for keeping our electronic equipment safe from a cybersecurity perspective, and Ronja Abel, Communications Director with the Montana Department of Commerce, provided a sketch of what to expect as far as photos, press releases, and social media.

I’m very pleased and honored to be part of the delegation and look forward to sharing my adventures.IMG_3672

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Mid-summer, I received a letter from Governor Steve Bullock’s office inviting me to be a member of a trade delegation to Taiwan and South Korea. Receiving this letter was the equivalent of Cinderella receiving an invitation to the Prince’s ball. That is, I feel out of my element. However, my family, Kamut International, and state funding rallied to provide the resources to make the trip a reality. And so, I have been preparing for the last ten weeks to go to Asia.

To connect a lot of dots in a fairly short amount of time, I’m going to Taipei and Seoul as part of an official Montana Trade Delegation. South Korea is Montana’s second largest trading partner, while the combined Taiwan and China markets rank as the third largest buyers of Montana products. You can find an infographic here for trade stats  -montana trade stats This is the fourth such trade mission to foreign countries for Montana, and I will be one of only four women part of the delegation of seventeen. http://missoulian.com/news/state-and-regional/bullock-announces-trade-mission-to-south-korea-taiwan/article_e28241c2-d4f9-528b-b4e7-acbe93b40a80.html

My goal for this trip is learning more about the Taiwan and South Korean markets for organic ancient grains. My understanding is that breakfast cereal, Italian-style pasta, and American-style bread products are not desired products for Asian markets, although these are some of the more popular products for KAMUT(R) Brand khorasan wheat.  I hope my notions of cultural food norms are set on end. This summer while traveling in Europe, Clem and I noted the pervasiveness of Irish pubs and Mexican cantinas in St. Petersburg, Russia. So, who knows? Until you put your boots or high heels on the ground.

I’m currently trying to navigate bringing grain samples into both markets; apparently it involves “phytosanitary certificates” and $100+ for each country. I’m also trying to navigate an appropriate wardrobe… and, as a Missoula girl, I don’t wear heels very often…

Classic Montana is knowing where you call home. It means knowing your neighbors even when they are 45 miles down the road. It means knowing the great places to be in every little town. It means working hard, playing hard, and loving each and every minute of both. It means knowing that you are in one of the most beautiful, rugged, demanding, giving, places on earth and knowing that living and working here means giving up a lot. Giving up high wages for some of the lowest in the nation and also having to contend with a higher cost of living, greater transportation costs, isolation, limited opportunities, and still wanting to be here. 

 

Classic Montana is helping your friends and neighbors – it means acceptance, resilience, and service. 

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