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Thursday, 09 October 2014 08:56

Dutch delegation to explore West Michigan food processing, agriculture needs

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The bridge between West Michigan and its Dutch roots is continuing to grow as a delegation of business leaders from the Netherlands again visited the region.

Hosted by the West Michigan Global Initiative and The Right Place Inc., the delegation plans to tour West Michigan companies in an effort to strengthen ties between Michigan and the Netherlands. The group represents companies in the agriculture, food processing and medical device industries, said Birgit Klohs, president and CEO of RPI.

As the world population nears an expected 9 billion people by 2050, many agricultural and food processing companies are going to need to prepare for drastic increases food demand, said Jamie Clover Adams, director of Michigan’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. However, with farm land nearing full capacity, that increase is going to place a premium on efficiency – something that farmers and food processors in the state aren’t used to.

However, that’s where the relationship with the Netherlands comes into play, Klohs said. The country’s advanced farming technology and food processing techniques could prove essential as efficiency standards in the industry rise.

“They really have perfected how you grow food in small spaces,” Klohs said. “They are the second-largest food exporter in the world even though they are only a small country. They have become very sophisticated in processing technology.”

Through the partnership, Klohs and Adams hope to create a partnership with collaboration on production, processing and logistics.

“I’d like to see the potential to share technology and the science and research behind advancing more intensive production,” Adams said. “That’s where we’re going to have to go, and it’s not going to happen in a year. These are long-term trends.”

This trip marks the third delegation over the last three years to visit the area in an attempt to strengthen ties between companies in Michigan and the Netherlands, sources said.

Klohs also hopes to make connections with Dutch companies who may be seeking a North American presence in the future.

“When they think about this country for a potential market, we want them to think about Michigan first and then think about West Michigan,” Klohs said.

The delegation planned to meet with Stryker Corp., Wayne Leep’s Farm, Gordon Food Services Inc., Aspen Surgical Products Inc., Skytron LLC, Van Andel Institute, Founders Brewing Co. and others. 

Read 3114 times Last modified on Thursday, 09 October 2014 08:59

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