Junkets or business trips? Perhaps no Hoosier leaders in decades have made the case that trips abroad to sell Hoosier goods are worthwhile, not only in public relations value but in dollars and cents, as well as Governor Mitch Daniels and Lt. Governor Becky Skillman, who also serves as Secretary of Agriculture.
Skillman reminded the Purdue Ag Alumni Fish Fry crowd a few days ago that she would be leaving soon for a trade mission trip to Mexico, and leading a well-qualified delegation with her. She also touted the beneficial outcomes of several previous trips, made either by herself or the governor. Those who have traveled with Skillman in the past claim she is a tireless traveler and ambassador for Indiana, sleeping very little and taking advantage of every opportunity to impress foreign guests with a positive image of Indiana, especially Indiana agribusiness. At least one direct purchase of grain by foreign buyers grew directly out of one of these trade missions in the past.
Apparently this trip was no expedition. Her main mission this time was definitely food and agriculture. The delegation she lead south of the border included 26 top-level food and agribusiness leaders. Her stops along the trip included visits to a pork processing plant, dairy cattle feed plant and a chance to meet with representatives from Mexico's grain and biotechnology industries.
During the trip, Skillman reports that she also participated in an important official signing ceremony. It was between officials from Purdue University, Ivy-Tech Lafayette, Ball State University and Indiana University plus the Autonomous University of Hidalgo. The agreement will allow Hoosier universities to partner officially with the Mexican University. University officials see a host of opportunities coming out of this new agreement completed during the trip.
Always a proponent of rural development, the Lt. Governor, who represented rural areas of southern Indiana while she served in the Indiana Senate before becoming the Lt. Governor in the Mitch Daniels Administration, took advantage of the opportunity to meet with members of Hidalgo's state government. Rural development issues were on the table during the discussion, she notes.
You can learn more about highlights from the trip by visiting a special Web site. It includes reports from various members of the delegation who attended from Indiana on behalf of the food industry and Indiana agriculture and agribusiness. Photos are also displayed on the site. Find these reports at: www.in.gov/lg/2854.htm.