Trade group going to Mexico

Montana Lt. Gov. Karl Ohs will lead a Montana trade delegation leaving for Mexico Sunday.

By From Tribune Reports

The group of nine agriculture and trade representatives will meet with government officials and representatives of Mexican brewing
companies to build business relationships, and to learn more about the uses of malting barley in Mexico.

Malting barley brings a higher price than feed barley, and Montana has both the soils and water to produce more of the crop, Ohs said.
Pursuing more malt-barley business for Montana is part of the administration’s effort to increase the value of agricultural products produced
in the state.

Montana ranked third nationally among barley-producing states in 2001, harvesting more than 29.5 million tons. Malting barley is grown in
four different regions in Montana, said Department of Agriculture Director Ralph Peck.

Brewing and malting companies that buy barley in Montana include Coors, Anheuser-Busch and Great Western Malting. Barley is also
sold, bought and shipped by grain merchandisers such as General Mills, Columbia Grains and Harvest States Grain.

Joining the lieutenant governor and the director on the four-day Mexico trip will be Mark Lindberg of the Governor’s Office of Economic
Opportunity, state Sen. Glenn Roush of Cut Bank and Rep. John Witt of Carter, as well as grain industry leaders from Montana.

The delegation will meet Monday in Mexico City with officials of Grupo Modelo, which owns eight breweries in Mexico and has a
joint-venture business relationship with Anheuser-Busch. Grupo Modelo’s brands include Victoria and Corona Extra, which is exported
worldwide. Grupo Modelo recently announced plans to build a plant in Idaho Falls.

The delegation will also tour breweries and malting facilities.

Agricultural trade between the United States and Mexico has steadily increased since the North America Free Trade Agreement was
signed in 1992. Exports to Mexico totaled $9.2 billion in 1998, according to the USDA’s Economic Research Service.

Ohs will head another delegation leaving April 30 to visit officials of Froedtert Malting Corp. in Milwaukee. Froedtert Malting buys barley in
Canada and the United States, and produces malt for several brewing companies.

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