Charleston, WV - The West Virginia Department
of Agriculture (WVDA) has renewed its partnership with the Southern United
States Trade Association (SUSTA). WVDA, SUSTA and state officials met in July
to discuss potential partnership opportunities. From those discussions, training
classes will be offered to assist West Virginia small agriculture-based
businesses with state, regional, national and international marketing
"Under the Agriculture Business Development Division, our is mission to
help West Virginia agriculture-based businesses grow through in-house services
or external partnerships. SUSTA is one of those vital partnerships that can
help us reach that goal," stated Commissioner of Agriculture Kent
Leonhardt. "We look forward to hosting seminars to help our businesses
reach new markets that they may have not had the opportunity to before.
Governed by the 16 Southern Commissioners and Secretaries of Agriculture, SUSTA
was formed in 1974 to serve the agriculture industries of the southeast. WVDA
played a critical role in its formation. As the West Virginia Commissioner of
Agriculture, Kent Leonhardt sits on their board of directors.
"SUSTA is helping businesses such as Inwood's Doc's Tea reach
international markets like China. What businesses might not know is there are
numerous considerations when exploring these international markets, like
language requirements and food regulations specific to that country. SUSTA is
able to provide tools that we at the department may not have," stressed
WVDA Agriculture Business Development Director Cassey Bowden.
SUSTA offers a 50 percent cost share program to help small businesses that need
capitol support to grow their brand internationally. Items that can be paid for
under this cost share program include: travel, advertisement, website
development for foreign markets and part-time contracting support. SUSTA aided
the export of $476,296,068 worth of goods last year.
"West Virginia has always had a voice at the table, but under Commissioner
Leonhardt's administration we are exploring additional avenues to help West
Virginia small businesses. We are excited to work hand in hand with the WVDA
to offer more services to these businesses that want to explore new
markets," said SUSTA Executive Director Bernadette Wiltz.
"International markets are always hungry for more American products. The
potential is huge for West Virginia businesses."
Crescent Gallagher, Communications Director firstname.lastname@example.org, 304-558-3708 or 304-380-3922