Some of Oklahoma’s best export markets and partners come from it’s agricultural sector. Supplementing those connections are vital agriculture education programs at many of the state’s institutions of higher learning, where future farmers, agriculture producers and scientific experts hone their skills.

According to a recent release from Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, the Robert M. Kerr Food & Agricultural Products Center assisted an international company meet American compliance standards in the production of a South African beef jerky. The firm was not allowed to produce this South African staple until received USDA approval.

Researchers at OSU assisted Stormberg Foods, a family-owned South African company, with the validity process of producing biltong, a novel version of beef jerky.

The Kerr FAPC is part of OSU’s Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, It provides technical and business information that stimulates and supports the growth of value-added food and agricultural products and processing in Oklahoma.

Read the full release from FAPC’s Tori Lock here.

If you’re interested in learning more about Oklahoma’s export potential in the agriculture sector, or an international agriculture business interested in Oklahoma, please contact us at and we will connect you with one of our members from the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture.

Agriculture placed in the hands of the consumer.

That’s one definition of the growing trend known as “u-pick” farms.

The Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry (ODAFF) recognized the popularity of such farms and in the spring of 2016 launched the “Jelly Making Trails.”

On the trails, consumers can pick produce off the tree or the vine, from the orchard or the patch, and it’s quite possible not everyone makes it to the kitchen and the jelly making process before deciding to enjoy the fruits of Oklahoma.

The program took little time to ripen into a success. As a result, the “Jelly Making Trails” program earned the Marketing in Excellence Award, given by the North American Agricultural Marketing Officials, at the annual NAAMO conference, held this month in Manhattan, Kan. Each state is allowed to submit an application for this award. The field is then narrowed down to a select few that are invited to present their project at the conference. The states then vote for the winner.

“This prestigious award was launched to recognize innovative and effective agriculture marketing practices,” said Jamie Cummings, former Agritourism Coordinator and now International Programs Coordinator. “This recognition allows these effective strategies to be shared across the nation with the other state marketing teams and transfer the knowledge about these effective projects.”

The need or opportunity for such a program has developed as more and more consumers have shown interest in knowing where their food comes from, said Meriruth Cohenour, an ODAFF Agritourism Coordinator.

“In response to this, there has been an increase in farmers planting crops for the specific purpose of a ‘u-pick’ farm where the public can come to the farm, learn about the way the food is grown, meet the people who care for and harvest the food, and enjoy outdoor family time,” Cohenour said.

The Agritourism team at ODAFF developed the Jelly Making Trails project. The trails were determined based on geography in order to allow consumers to plan trips around the farms. Any agritourism producer offering a chance to pick or purchase specialty crops was included.

During the first year, 47 producers participated with the busiest months being May to August.

“We provided on-farm education pieces such as crop fact signs, jar labels and stickers to each producer,” Cohenour said. “In addition, we distributed maps with all of the producers grouped geographically in ‘trails’ through the site and through all of our face-to-face marketing opportunities. We also launched a social media campaign to help increase awareness.”

The “Jelly Making Trails” program was funded through the USDA’s Specialty Crop Block Grant program.

“We are so grateful to have the opportunity to utilize these funds in order to increase consumer awareness of fresh food availability in our state,” Cohenour said.

The response to the trails has been very positive as consumers really get engaged with the idea of picking their own produce. Also, by seeing what was available all over the state, consumers got excited about travelling to new places and getting to try various produce.

This year, the second of the program, 53 producers participated.

The 2017 campaign focused on education. The Agritourism team created a 12-page educational booklet that focused on ways to handle produce, nutritional facts and the different types of jellies and jams and other products that can be made from the produce.

“I believe the main reason this project has been successful is that consumers are engaging with the producer,” Cohenour said. “When they visit the farm they make personal connections with the farmers and they learn so much about the way their food is grown. This positive experience encourages them to seek similar opportunities, thus making the Jelly Making Trails material a very valuable resource.”

Moving forward, the Agritourism team plans to seek out more farmers that wish to offer these types of experiences and then continue to inform the consumers of these opportunities.

“We hope to turn some of the educational material from this year’s project into an interactive web experience next year,” Cohenour said.

Photo caption: Jamey Allen, Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry (ODAFF) Director of Market Development, from left, Meriruth Cohenour, Agritourism Coordinator, and Jamie Cummings, a former Agritourism Coordinator and now International Programs Coordinator, are shown accepting the Marketing in Excellence Award, given by the North American Agricultural Marketing Officials, at the annual NAAMO conference, held this month in Manhattan, Kan. ODAFF received the award for the “Jelly Making Trails” program.

In another fantastic round up, potential for partnerships with Germany and Oklahoma-based firms are great.

According to a recent release from the Federation of International Trade Professionals, “The United States are the second biggest destination for German goods after the European Union and the United States are the fourth largest supplier of Germany. The U.S.-German Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation guarantees investors in Germany national treatment and allows the free movement of capital between the United States and Germany. Taxation of US firms within Germany is regulated by a protocol on the avoidance of double taxation.

“According to U.S. Census data, trade in goods between the United States and Germany totaled $163.5 billion in 2016.”

For Oklahoma-based firms, producers and manufacturers, there are great commercial opportunities in health, food, agricultural machinery and bio-tech sectors.

In Oklahoma, a great asset is our honorary consular corps, with Germany’s Honorary Consul, Jeremy Tubb a great resource for those wanting to connect with Germany.

Check out the full export and commercial guide for Oklahoma companies here.

The TPP may be dead as far as American involvement is concerned, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t numerous trade and commercial opportunities available for Oklahoma firms interested in doing business in Asia.

The latest Federation of International Trade Associations report on Vietnam is out, and it has identified several sectors key to growth for Oklahoma companies.

Opportunities for business can be found in information technologies, transportation infrastructures as well as healthcare and pharmaceuticals. An English-language export information outlet has also been set up, making for updated and easily viewable information on Vietnamese exports. The Vietnam Export Portal is an official business information channel, updated in English with the aim to introduce export potentials of Vietnam.

For our farming and Oklahoma agriculture professionals, Vietnam is growing as a reliable export market for agriculture related products. It now ranks as the U.S.’s 11th largest agricultural export market – and as economic growth picks up there the country’s need to import all or most of its consumption needs for wheat, cotton, wood and dairy products will be increasingly necessary.

Read the full report on Vietnam export opportunities here.

Shared from our friends over at, Oklahoma-based companies have an opportunity to expand to one of the U.S.’ growing trade partners with access to the wider Mediterranean. According to’s latest country report,  “trade between the United States and Morocco totaled slightly above $2.6 billion in 2015. The United States exported a total value of $1.6 billion and imported $1 billion worth of goods…

“The United States export mainly apparel and food manufactures, electrical equipment and appliances, mineral fuel and oil as well as cereals. Imports from Morocco are mainly fertilizers, raw materials (salt, sulfur, earth and stone), electrical machinery and woven apparel.

“New opportunities for business can be found in particular in agricultural products, textiles and the banking sector.”

For Oklahoma agriculture exporters, especially wheat farmers coming off a better than expected 2016 summer harvest, the USDA’s forecast for nearly 3 million tons of wheat imports (up from 2.8 initially predicted) into Morocco is a positive.

To read the full article, please click here.

Shared via our friends at, with better relations on the horizon under new Argentine President Mauricio Macri, now may be the time for Oklahoma companies to assess opportunities and risks to doing business with Argentina.

The agricultural biotechnology sector in Argentina

Argentina continues to be the third largest producer of biotech crops after the United States and Brazil, producing 14 percent of the world ́s total biotech crops. China’s approval of GE events continues to be a top priority for Argentine foreign trade.

See the full Federation of International Trade Association’s report for Argentina online here.

(Top photo: American President Barak Obama shares a toast with new Argentine President Mauricio Macri. Photo courtesy

Manufacturers and exporters in the Sooner State are set to benefit from the recent passage of the $1.1 trillion omnibus budget agreement passed on Dec. 18, 2015. As noted in an editorial in the Tulsa World, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will receive a $1.2 billion budget increase, some of which may be used to upgrade the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System, of which the Port of Catoosa is the terminal. Port of Catoosa

As the piece notes, “Over the years, a $150 million public investment at the port has been leveraged to attract more than $1 billion in private investment. Along the waterway, in Oklahoma alone, more than $5 billion in private money has been invested. Employment tops 8,000.”

To read the full editorial, please visit the Tulsa World.


Cementing the OKGIT’s ties with foreign countries, companies and peoples are organizations like the Oklahoma Israel Exchange, or OKIE, an Oklahoma-based non-profit focusing on developing exchanges between Oklahoma and Israel. OKGIT member and OKIE Executive Director Susan Robertson spoke with about her organization’s mission, her role and their upcoming November 5 gala event.

What is OKIE’s history?

“The Oklahoma Israel Exchange was endorsed by Governor David Walters in 1992 and became an official non-profit organization during the administration of Governor Frank Keating in 1997. OKIE was a joint endeavor between the Oklahoma City and Tulsa Jewish communities to encourage opportunities for exchange between Oklahoma and Israel.  After some refining and updating, today OKIE’s mission is to promote increased collaboration between the two states in agriculture, commerce, culture and education by coordinating activities, sponsoring projects, ensuring responsiveness to economic development opportunities and cultural exchanges, building networks through people-to-people exchanges and serving as an intermediary to further relations.”

How is OKIE funded?

“OKIE is supported mainly by memberships and a yearly fundraising event.  We also receive funding from the Jewish Federations of Oklahoma City and Tulsa, the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture Food and Forestry and grants. The Oklahoma Department of Commerce Israel office is funded in partnership by OKIE and the Oklahoma Department of Commerce, serving the Middle East, and is one of three international offices maintained by the state.”

What is your role with the organization?

Susan Robertson

Susan Robertson

“I serve as the executive director of OKIE and I am responsible for carrying out the policies as set forth by the board of directors and  achieving the goals and objectives of OKIE.  I work with the Israeli Consul Generals’ and Economic Office in Houston, as well as state, private businesses, cultural organizations and individuals that have an interest in pursuing programs or partnerships with Israeli counterparts.”

How did you become involved with OKIE?

“I began to learn about Israel while living in Oklahoma in 1986 and made my first trip there in 1989. I was originally connected with a Christian organization, the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem, and traveled to Israel every fall for a worldwide conference. During my visits I made many Israeli friends and began to learn more about the country and experience the many challenges they face every day. Each trip brought me closer to a desire to do more than just visit. I moved back to Oklahoma in 1998 and in 2004 the executive directors’ job for OKIE became available, I interviewed and was hired. Ten years later I still enjoy the job and look forward to new partners and programs between the two states.”

What does OKIE do on a day-to-day basis?

“We constantly look for opportunities for exchange or connection in agriculture, commerce, culture or education.  Israel has so much high-tech coming out of it. Everyday there’s some new device or app for phones or cure for some disease. We look for a business in Oklahoma that’s interested in partnering with one of those Israeli companies either for research or marketing opportunity. Oklahoma has state-of-the-art medical facilities doing research, is a leader in the oil and gas industry and is also a leader in aerospace. There are definitely a lot of opportunities.

“An example is with the Riata Entrepreneurial Center at OSU. They are interested in partnering with a school in Israel. OKIE contacted the office in Jerusalem and after some preliminary conversations, a school was identified in Israel that was interested and a program is being formed. This is the way we approach all exchanges in any of the four pillars of our mission, like a matchmaker. It is then up to the partnering organizations to move forward with the process.”

Tell us a bit about the annual gala and guest of honor Robert Henry’s presence.

“For the last five years we’ve held what has become the Light, Leadership and Legacy Award gala where we honor distinguished members of the Oklahoma community who have demonstrated unwavering support of OKIE. Honorees recognize the ongoing importance of projects and programs that link Oklahoma and Israel.

“This year on November 5, 6:30PM, at the Skirvin Hotel, Robert Henry is being honored for his commitment to Oklahoma and the relationship with Israel. We try to make sure the program is not only informative about OKIE but also entertaining. Proceeds help to support new and ongoing opportunities between the two states.  For more information or to purchase tickets they can call 405-848-3132 or email”


To learn more about the Oklahoma Israel Exchange, please visit or follow them on Facebook page.