Governor Snyder Honors Graceland Fruit, Inc. as the Michigan Agriculture Exporter of the Year
The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) has selected Graceland Fruit, Inc. of Frankfort, MI, as the "Michigan Agriculture Exporter of the Year.” The company was honored today with a presentation of the Michigan Agriculture Exporter of the Year award by Governor Snyder to Graceland Fruit’s CEO Al DeVore. Graceland proactively works to identify their top export markets and make changes to their products to meet their export customers’ needs.
“Graceland Fruit is positioned to meet the global demands for Michigan’s diverse agricultural products,” said Governor Rick Snyder. “I applaud Graceland as the Michigan Agriculture Exporter of the Year and the company’s ability to market its quality product lines into new global markets.”
Graceland participated in the Governor’s trade mission to Japan in the fall of 2011. During the mission Graceland emphasized its focus on bringing functional, healthier foods to market.
“Graceland Fruit’s focus on quality and innovative products has leveraged their expansion into new markets and significantly increased their export sales growth,” said Keith Creagh, MDARD director. “We applaud Graceland for their industry leadership and the key role they are playing to grow and diversify our state’s economy.”
Michigan is second in the nation for agricultural diversity and exports one-third of its agricultural commodities every year. Michigan food and agriculture exports totaled $1.75 billion in 2010 according to USDA figures and employ more than 14,700 residents.
“Graceland Fruit has worked hard to grow exports since 1995, and this award represents a tremendous achievement by our entire team. We’re grateful to everyone at Graceland, the State of Michigan and our overseas partners for their support in making Graceland Fruit the Michigan Agriculture Exporter of the Year for the second time in its history,” said Alan DeVore, President and CEO of Graceland Fruit Inc. “As consumers focus more on nutrition and healthy foods, we’re well positioned to bring more niche products to the marketplace to occupy that space. This is especially true in overseas markets like Asia, and we’re confident that our export business will continue to grow and thrive.”
Graceland saw an increase of over 40% in their export business in 2011. The company manufactures and exports a wide variety of dried fruits including tart cherries, cranberries, apples and blueberries. Graceland began exporting in 1995 and has experience exporting to 42 countries. While historically selling into the commercial food industry, Graceland recently expanded its sales and marketing to home shoppers and retailers. For more information on Graceland Fruit visit www.gracelandfruit.com.
The award review committee consisted of representatives from the Van Andel Global Trade Center, Comerica Bank, Michigan Farm Bureau and Michigan State University’s International Business Center. The decision was based upon several factors including, marketing plans, and ability to expand into new markets, alliances with other organizations, and exports sales growth over the last three years. To be eligible, the products also had to be more than 50 percent grown, processed or manufactured in Michigan.
For information on Michigan's International Marketing Programs, contact the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development at (517) 241-3628 or visit www.michigan.gov/agexport.
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