Kansas Companies Participate in STEP Grant Trade Missions


MANHATTAN, Kan. — The Kansas Department of Agriculture recently hosted two State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) Grant trade missions to Foro Mascotas Pet Food International in Guadalajara, Mexico, and AGRO 2019 in Kyiv, Ukraine. The trade missions provided Kansas companies an opportunity to showcase and offer their products to an international audience. Companies participating in the trade mission to Mexico included: Engineered Systems and Equipment (E.S.E), Caney, and NorthWind Technical Services, Sabetha. Companies participating in the trade mission to Ukraine included: Moridge Manufacturing Inc. (Grasshopper Company), Moundridge, ShieldAg Equipment, Hutchinson, and USC, Sabetha.

“The STEP Grant was designed to help small businesses expand their exports. We’ve been fortunate in Kansas to have received the STEP grant to help Kansas farmers, ranchers and agribusinesses to explore new markets or increase the value of export sales in existing markets,” said Suzanne Ryan-Numrich, international trade director at KDA.

Exports are important to the Kansas economy. In 2018, over $3.8 billion of agricultural goods were shipped around the globe to 74 different countries.

The trade missions were sponsored by KDA and funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration using a STEP grant in cooperation with the Kansas Department of Commerce.

Ray Garvey, export manager at the Grasshopper Company, was among those who traveled to AGRO 2019. “From my point of view, there are several aspects of the AGRO show that were a success,” he said. “I want to thank the state of Kansas and the SBA for this opportunity to discover a new market in Ukraine. I’m looking forward to further exploring this market for my company.”

The Kansas Department of Agriculture is dedicated to providing an environment that enhances and encourages economic growth of the agriculture industry and the Kansas economy including the further development and expansion of marketing opportunities for agricultural goods and services around the globe.

The KDA is offering an upcoming opportunity for Kansas farmers, ranchers and agribusinesses to participate in a livestock genetic trade mission to Uruguay this fall, from September 10-16. Additionally, two STEP Grant trade missions are planned for 2020: VICTAM Asia/Petfood Forum Asia, Bangkok, Thailand, March 24-26; and NAMPO Harvest Day, Bothaville, South Africa, May 12-15. Interested persons should contact Ryan-Numrich at or 785-564-6704.

Derek Nester
Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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