MARSHALL - A Marshall company that has built successful global markets is one of nine winners of the 2013 Governor's International Trade Awards. Midwest Ag Enterprises was honored March 11 during an award ceremony at the state Capitol.
"It's a very, very good honor to have this kind of recognition," said Jim Moline, Midwest Ag president.
"International trade supports thousands of Minnesota jobs and communities across our state. I want to congratulate Midwest Ag Enterprises on its international growth and continued commitment to Marshall," said Lt. Governor Yvonne Prettner Solon. "The entrepreneurial spirit of companies like Midwest Ag will help Minnesota's economy build on the more than 133,000 jobs created since 2011."
Lt. Gov. Yvonne Prettner Solon, Jim Moline, president of Midwest Ag and Guowu Xu, pose for a photo at the 2013 Governor’s International Trade Awards.
Midwest Ag Enterprises, which sells animal feed products, was selected for developing and continuing to grow a significant part of its business in foreign markets, for increasing or maintaining jobs in Minnesota to support international sales and for developing novel approaches for competing globally.
Other 2013 award winners were Barr Engineering Co., Minneapolis; Fastenal Co., Winona; Horton Inc., Roseville; Julia Knight Inc., Minneapolis; MGS Machine Corp., Maple Grove; Minnesota International Medicine, Minneapolis; OSI Inc., Medina; and Pepin Manufacturing, Lake City.
"We are pleased to recognize the outstanding achievements of these Minnesota exporters and the positive economic impact that exporting companies, both large and small, are making in communities throughout the state," said Kathleen Motzenbecker, executive director of the Minnesota Trade Office. "We applaud them for their global vision, hard work and creativity in tackling new international markets."
Moline said the Department of Agriculture was aware of his business and "spearheaded the nomination."
Moline started in the agricultural products business back in 1996 when he worked for Minnesota Corn Processors in Marshall. After MCP was sold to Archer Daniels Midland in 2002, he found himself "out of a job," he said.
It was a case of "when one door closes, another opens" for Moline, who went on to form Midwest Ag Enterprises and Midwest Ag Exports - "exporters of high quality feed ingredients to end-user customers in the Pacific Rim and China," according to the company's website.
"It didn't come without risk, but it has worked out," he said. "We've been very fortunate."
Moline travels to Asia about "three to four times a year for a 10- to 14-day trip," he said. "It varies."
In addition to a small office staff in Marshall, Moline employs Guowu Xu, Ph.D, who is in charge of Asia technical support and China market. Moline is also a part owner of a feed processing plant in Iowa.
"About 25 people work there," he said.
"We're trying to diversify but still maintain our business as a high-value protein supplier of animals feeds."
Last summer, Midwest Ag was recognized by Agricultural Utilization Research Institute for creating a process that derives a feed suitable for pigs, poultry and fish from soy meal. The company received the AURI Ag Innovator of the Year Award.
Moline said his company is going to launch the soy protein product in the next month or two.