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Foreign Agricultural Officials to Visit Montana, Wyoming and Idaho

WASHINGTON, Sept.17, 2010 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced today that 24 foreign officials representing 23 countries will tour Montana, Idaho and Yellowstone National Park Sept. 18-25 as part of the annual orientation tour sponsored by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS).

"International trade plays a critical role in the health and development of the agricultural economy," said FAS Administrator John Brewer. "Orientation tours not only showcase U.S. farms and their products, but facilitate face-to-face interactions that open and expand opportunities for U.S. producers and enhance global food security."

Foreign officials will pay for their own travel, lodging and tour expenses.

The locations selected for the 2010 tour produce a variety of food and agricultural products that are exported worldwide. According to USDA’s Economic Research Service:

Montana sold $2.6 billion in agricultural products in 2009, including wheat exports valued at $557 million and feed exports valued at $190 million.

Idaho sold $5.2 billion in agricultural products in 2009, including vegetable exports valued at $476 million and dairy exports valued at $141 million.

In Montana, the delegation will visit the ORIgen beef genetics facility, a sugar beet farm, the Western Sugar Cooperative, the Midland Bull Test facility, the Sunshine Apiary, and Montana State University’s Agricultural Bioscience Research Facility and Montana Potato Lab.

The group will continue to Yellowstone, where the visitors will meet with park staff and discuss park management issues.

The foreign officials will conclude their tour in Idaho, visiting sites that include the Idahoan potato dehydration facility, Wada Farms, the University of Idaho’s Aberdeen Research and Extension Center, Fish Breeders of Idaho, Ste. Chapelle Winery and Symms Fruit Ranch.

For more information, contact: Ellen Dougherty, Deputy Director, FAS Public Affairs at (202) 720-0328, or by e-mail at; Marty Earnheart, Montana Department of Agriculture, Meats and Livestock Marketing Officer, at (406) 444-9126, or by e-mail at; and Lacey Menasco, Idaho State Department of Agriculture, Trade Specialist, at (208) 332-8538, or by e-mail at

A list of foreign participants is included below.


Name and Title of Foreign Officials

Angola Ms. Ana DaCosta, Commercial Affairs Office
Australia Mr. Simon Smalley, Minister-Counselor (Agriculture)
Austria Mr. Markus Reiterer, Political Counselor
Brazil Dr. Horrys FRIACA, DVM, Agricultural Attaché
Canada Ms. Pamela Simpson-Rose, First Secretary, Agric. and Fisheries
Canada (Denver, CO) Ms. Kim O’Neil, Consulate General of Canada, Denver, Co.
Costa Rica Mr. Jose Quirce, Director, Foreign Trade and Investment
Egypt Dr. Safwat El Haddad, Minister and Director, Agriculture Office
Delegation of the

European Union (UK)

Mr. Bernard Merkel, Minister-Counselor, Head of Food Safety, Health and Consumer Affairs
France Mr. Christian Ligeard, Agriculture Counselor
Germany Dr. Thomas Schmidt, Minister-Counselor, Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection
Hungary Mr. Attila Tóth, Agricultural Attaché
India Mr. Bhupinder S. Bhalla, Counselor (Economics)
Iraq Mr. Naufel Al-Hassan, Commercial Counselor
Israel Mr. Zvi Herman, Minister, Agriculture and Science Affairs
Malaysia Mr. Ram Singh Hari Singh, Counselor, Agriculture
Mexico Mr. Carlos Vazquez, Minister-Counselor, Agriculture and

"Dean" of the Agricultural Attaches in Washington, D.C.

Morocco Mr. Zefri Abdeslam, Economic Counselor
Netherlands Mr. Martin Oldemonnikhof, Agricultural Counselor
New Zealand Mr. Jason Frost, Technical Advisor, Food Safety
Norway Mr. Lars P. Henie, Minister-Counselor, Economics Section
South Africa Ms. Vangile Titi-Mzumza, Minister-Counselor, Agriculture
Spain Ms. Almudena Rodriguez, Agricultural Counselor, Office of the Environment, Rural and Marine Affairs
Vietnam Mr. Liem Bui, Counselor, Head of the Economic Section


Contact: Ben Carpenter (202) 720-9445


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