Food Export-Midwest is Celebrating 50 Years!



Our History

Food Export Association of the Midwest USA is a non-profit organization that promotes the export of food and agricultural products from the Midwestern region of the United States. We’ve been helping U.S. suppliers of Midwestern food and agricultural products sell overseas since 1969.

Food Export-Midwest is one of four State Regional Trade Groups (SRTGs) that help U.S. companies with export promotion. The three other regional groups, Food Export USA-NortheastSUSTA, and WUSATA provide similar services for companies based or sourcing product from outside of the Food Export-Midwest 12-state region. 

In 1969 the Mid-America International Agri-Trade Council (MIATCO), later to be renamed as Food Export Association of the Midwest USA, was the first of the four SRTGs to be founded. As a cooperative effort between 12 Midwestern state agricultural promotion agencies and the United States Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS). 

SRTG USA Map Updated

Today our member states include the following states:

North Dakota
South Dakota

Take A Walk Down Memory Lane

See the collection of photos, videos, and stories that we've collected below about Food Export - Midwest's last 50 years!

What do Kumquats have to do with the MIATCO Branded MAP Program?

In 1987 FAS was handed the Targeted Export Assistance (TEA) program by Congress with no instructions on how to implement.  The task of writing the Branded TEA program landed on the desk of cub FAS marketing specialist Scott Sindelar, a Minnesota aggie.  Mr. Sindelar had to write the not only the Branded TEA regulations but also a guide on how SRTGs and the state department of agriculture marketing staff should promote the Branded TEA program.  The guide to help promote the Branded TEA program took the course of how to promote kumquats from the regions/states.

The Branded TEA promotion guide landed on the desk of cub Michigan state marketing staff person Paul Burke, with the instructions to determine if this information was of any value to the Michigan Department of Agriculture international marketing program.  After reviewing the guide to getting Michigan’s kumquat processing industry reimbursed for their international marketing expenses, Mr. Burke smelled the opportunity to make his mark in the Michigan Department of Agriculture, because hey what Michigan kumquat processor wouldn’t want to be reimbursed some of their tax dollars?  In that first cycle Mr. Burke had modest success signing up three Michigan food exporters to Branded TEA, none of them kumquat processors.  One of the firms Honee Bear Canning remained in the Branded program for many years and was awarded the much coveted MIATCO Tea Pot Award.

Mr. Sindelar ended up having a long career with FAS serving as Minister Counselor in China (plus two other tours in China), South Africa and India as well as postings in Taiwan and Thailand.

Mr. Burke ended up working in the MI Dept of Ag twice, the MO Dept of Ag once (where he continued to promote the Branded program) and currently works as Senior Director of U.S. Soy Marketing.

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Share Your Memories with Us

Have you participated in past activities and want to share your memories from them with us? Email us at Throughout the year we'll be sharing past experiences from our staff and participants on this page.  


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Export Intelligence Video Series - Meeting Foreign Buyers

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