My name is Bob Galask and I grew up in Iowa (Fort Dodge). I've been in the diamond business in Los Angeles for over 35 years. Much of that time has been spent in Asia, particularly Thailand where I still have a diamond cutting factory. I've developed extensive connections in Thailand, Burma, India, Taiwan and Indonesia as well as a strong familiarity with most Asian countries and customs.
My question is, are there opportunities to purchase, process and export Iowa agricultural products? Pigs ears, gluten, chicken feet, ginseng, farm equipment etc., I'd be amenable to any opportunities.. I'll be in Iowa next week visiting friends and family. I'd appreciate any feedback be it positive or negative from any members of your staff.
Yes, there are definitely opportunities to export Iowa agricultural products. The U.S. Census Bureau currently calculates that Iowa companies exported $13.2 billion in products in 2015. A sizable portion of these exports are agricultural in origin. Looking at the top 10 products exported from Iowa, agriculture dominates the list with nine entries: corn, tractors, distillers grains, fresh or chilled pork, herbicides, soybeans, frozen pork, soybean oilcake, and combines. Specialized agricultural products, such as listed in the question (pigs ears, chicken feet), are also part of the export mix. In fact, pork offal (which includes internal organs, feet, and skin) is the 19th largest export from Iowa. The International Office at the Iowa Economic Development Authority would be a good place to start on a quest to develop an export business. The office helps Iowa companies explore and develop markets and provides technical, marketing, and financial assistance. They also maintain a directory of Iowa exporters.