Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch, in collaboration with the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, Indiana Office of Tourism Development and Indiana Economic Development Corporation, will lead a delegation of Indiana agriculture and tourism leaders to Mexico to develop economic partnerships, strengthen agricultural ties and showcase Indiana as a tourism destination.
The delegation will depart Indiana on Sunday, July 7, and return on Thursday, July 11.
“After our successful trip to Canada, I am excited to bring agriculture and tourism partners to Mexico, to further our economic partnerships between the two countries,” Crouch said. “Indiana has a lot to offer and learn from our associates in the south, and I look forward to the positive conversations that will occur over this trip.”
While the delegates will participate in certain events together, such as a Friends of Indiana Reception and Business Networking Breakfast, the group will conduct most of their business as two separate contingents: one focused on agricultural economic development and the other on building tourism partnerships.
The agricultural delegation will spend most of its time in Mexico City, with a one day trip to the state of Hildago, working to strengthen ties and develop new markets for Indiana’s agricultural products. They will participate in business to business discussions, government meetings, site visits and company tours.
“Mexico is a large purchaser of Indiana’s agricultural products, in sectors such as corn, hardwoods, duck and pork,” said Bruce Kettler, Indiana State Department of Agriculture Director. “Our focus there will be to expand opportunities for Hoosier farmers by building stronger ties and facilitating cooperation with one of the state’s largest export markets.”
In Mexico City, the tourism delegation will be working to develop relationships with key travel and tourism stakeholders, while showcasing the state’s tourism assets and promoting travel to Indiana.
They will be meeting with Mexican travel writers, tour organizers, travel agents, and potential businesses, who are interested in expanding their tourism footprint in the U.S. They will also be visiting some of Mexico’s premier agritourism destinations, in an effort to bolster the state’s culinary and agritourism profile.
“Our statewide tourism efforts are helping the economy grow and we want to take that internationally,” said Misty Weisensteiner, Indiana Office of Tourism Development Executive Director. “While in Mexico, we want to develop relationships with successful travel writers and agents, and encourage them to write about Indiana and include us in their itineraries.”
Indiana is home to 15 Mexico-based business establishments, including Azteca Milling, Allura USA, Bimbo Bakeries USA, Cemex Materials, Glasteel , Republic Steel, Transpoint Intermodal and Waelz Sustainable Products, that support more than 1,000 jobs across the state. Additionally, many Indiana companies, such as Allison Transmission, Berry Global Group, Cummins, Eli Lilly, Franklin Electric & Company, Kimball Electronics, Maple Leaf and Steel Dynamics, have operations and facilities in Mexico.
Along with the Lt. Governor, members of both delegations are listed below.
• Indiana Economic Development Corporation:
o Jim Schellinger, Indiana Secretary of Commerce
o Andrea Richter, Vice President of International Engagement
• Indiana State Department of Agriculture:
o Bruce Kettler, Director
o Connie Neininger, Business Development Director
o Ben Gavelek, Communications Director
• Tracy Barnes, Office of the Lieutenant Governor Chief of Staff
• Michael Beard, Indiana Corn Marketing Council, Board President
• Paul Brennan, Indiana State Poultry Association, Inc., Executive Vice President
• Susan Brocksmith, Vincennes University, Professor
• Natasha Cox, Farm Credit Mid-America, Regional Vice President of Ag Lending
• Amanda Dickson, Purdue University, International Extension Specialist
• Jeffrey Gormong, Indiana Farm Bureau, District 7 Director
• Harold Gutzwiller, Hoosier Energy, Economic Development/Key Accounts Manager
• Douglas Leman, Indiana Dairy Producers, Executive Director
• Nicholas Maple, Indiana Pork Producers Association, Board President
• Thomas Oilar, Cole Hardwood, Inc., President
• Chris Olsen, Tate & Lyle,Vice President of Community & Government Affairs
• Doris Anne Sadler, World Trade Center Indianapolis, President & CEO
• Andy Tauer, Indiana Soybean Alliance, Director of Livestock & Aquaculture
• Trenton Torrance, United Animal Health, Chief Operating Officer
• Joseph Tuholski, Indiana Soybean Alliance, Board Chairman
• Indiana Office of Tourism Development:
o Misty Weisensteiner, Executive Director
o Amy Howell, Director of Communications & Media Relations
• Arann Banks, Jackson County Visitor Center, Executive Director
• Christian Butzke, Purdue University, Professor of Food Science and Enology
• Liping Cai, Purdue University Tourism & Hospitality Research Center, Professor and Director
• Kristal Painter, Visit French Lick/West Baden, Executive Director
For the state delegation, the costs of the trip are being paid through private donations made to the Indiana Economic Development Foundation specifically for the Mexico trade mission.