Updated: Thursday, November 08, 2012 4:50 PM
Oregon Department of Agriculture Director Katy Coba is joining Gov. John Kitzhaber on a trade mission to Tokyo, Hong Kong and Shanghai beginning Oct. 14 to expand markets for Oregon potatoes and look for new markets for Oregon dairy products.
China, particularly, Coba said, offers new markets for dairy producers if producers are willing to change the way they process and package milk.
"This is the first time we have ever had the dairy sector in Oregon interested in looking at export markets," Coba said.
"So this is really a kind of a market reconnaissance trip for dairy to see where there can be opportunities for Oregon dairy products and whether we have producers and processors in Oregon that would be interested in taking advantage of those opportunities," she said.
Dairy consumers in China, Coba said, purchase primarily shelf stable fluid milk and powdered milk.
"Oregon dairy producers would have to make some modifications to existing processing to make a product for those markets," Coba said.
"Or in the case of cheese, it might be certain kinds of cheeses would fit better in the Asian markets or a different kind of packaging," Coba said. "So you would have to look at all those issues."
"On the potato side, these are markets we are currently active in," she said.
"We will be connecting with our current customers and looking for new customers," Coba said.
"For the whole delegation it is pretty much the standard business retention opportunities, business recruitment, clearly trade, connecting with our important business partners, and always looking for new trade opportunities," she said.
The delegation will return Oct. 25.