Trade Projects

Ohio Exports to Israel

Ohio Almond Cookies

Almond CookiesIn 2004, the Initiative promoted the participation of Ohio food companies in Isra-Food Hotex, an annual Food and Beverage exhibition in Tel-Aviv. Through the Israeli exhibition, the Ohio companies were given the opportunity to present their products to international food distributors. As a result, an Ohio company that produces almond cookies reached an agreement with an Israeli supermarket chain to export their products. Shortly after, the Almondina Brand cookie was selected as a candidate to be featured in Israel’s largest supermarket chain’s “American Month”. The almond cookies were soon picked up by an Israeli importer specializing in the distribution of U.S. food products, and since 2005, have been available in grocery stores around Israel.


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  • SOY
    Sam Hoenig at the Farm Science Review, an annual outdoor farm exhibition near London, Ohio. The "House That Soy Built" was constructed by the Ohio Soybean Council and the United Soybean Board to showcase the many ways soy beans can be substituted for chemical and petroleum products commonly used in buildings.

Ohio soy exports to Israel

Israeli company Solbar Industries Ltd. is a manufacturer of specialty soy products for the food and cosmetic industries.  Based in Ashdod, Israel, Solbar hoped to expand and establish operations in the U.S. In 2003, the Negev Foundation began a concerted effort to bring Solbar to Ohio and establish an Ohio-based plant.

After plans to establish a soy production facility in Ohio were tabled, the Initiative assisted Solbar in importing large amounts of soy beans from Ohio farmers to Israel. In 2006, approximately $5 million in soybeans were purchased by Solbar from Ohio farmers and the company has increased its purchases in subsequent years.

Ohio organic spelt exports to Israel

speltAn Ohio farmer who attended the Initiative’s 2007 agriculture mission to Israel pursued an opportunity to export Ohio grown spelt to Israel. Spelt, a species of wheat, is considered a health food and used in a variety of products such as matza, pasta, and can be brewed into beer. After reaching an agreement with an international distributor, the farmer began exporting spelt in large quantities to Europe with Israel as the final destination of his farm’s output. Initially $240,000 of spelt was shipped out.

Ohio cereal exports to Israel

CerealIn 2007, the Initiative connected a major U.S. cereal company with an Israeli distributor. Although, the initial connection with the Israeli company reached a stand-still, the Lancaster, Ohio based facilities soon reached an agreement with another Israeli importer resulting in the exportation $300,000 of cereal to Israel. Marketed under the label “Monday”, the cereal was featured in a 2008 national advertising campaign and can be found in major supermarkets across the country. Since then, the cereal company has expressed an interest in expanding its Israeli product line.

Ohio honey exports to Israel

honeyIsrael is not a large consumer of honey and has an irregular import market due to its own honey producing capacity (approximately 3,600 metric tons). Israelis consume about 4,000 metric tons of honey per year. This is about one-third to one-half of U.S. or European consumption. This difference is a result of Israelis consuming most of their honey directly and Israel’s processed food industry utilizing less honey than do consumers. Israel’s honey market has not grown even despite aggressive marketing by Israeli producers. Import quantities are directly proportional to the amount of honey produced in Israel annually. Rainy winters result in more honey produced locally and less imported. Most honey imports come from Bulgaria or Hungary and are of low quality, and therefore must be repackaged by Israeli producers and wholesalers.

Since Israelis will pay more for premium foods, there may be a developable market for honey imported from the United States. Based on this theory, The Initiative drafted a prospectus describing opportunities and constraints regarding Ohio honey exports to Israel. back to top

Ohio hardwood exports to Israel

hardwoodSince Israel has limited domestic forests it must import the bulk of its hardwood. Ohio supplies many species of hardwoods as both raw (logs, boards) and secondary (veneer, doors, construction materials) products. U.S. wood in general has a good reputation but is more expensive in the Middle East.

In recent years, furniture manufacturing in Israel has become a $1 billion a year industry. About half of the hardwood is used in furniture manufacturing, and another 30% is used for joinery. Israel imports about $250 million of furniture annually. Israeli manufacturers export only about $30 million worth of furniture, which has slowed because of increasing internal demand fueled by large influxes of immigrants.

Since Israel is the only country that has fair trade agreements with Europe and the U.S., Israeli furniture manufacturers can offer an advantage to Ohio through a large unexplored potential for export. With the assistance of the Israel Association of Furniture Manufacturers, the surplus capacity of many Israeli manufacturers can be alleviated through mergers with strategic partners abroad.

The Initiative developed a prospectus describing opportunities and constraints, and is exploring export opportunities with Ohio timber exporters and Israeli importers. The Initiative is also open to possible joint ventures with Israeli furniture companies and manufacturers.

Ohio pet food exports to Israel

pet foodThe Israeli pet food market, an industry worth over $60 million and expanding, relies largely on imports. U.S. companies are the main sources of those imports. There appears to be good market potential for Ohio - or any other - pet food companies interested in pursuing this growing market. A prospectus describing opportunities and constraints is being reviewed in Ohio and Israel. As a result of this study and of contacts developed at the IsraFood/Hotex Trade Show, The Initiative would like to look into connecting interested Ohio pet food producers with Israeli distributors.

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  • Feeder Calves

Marketing and exporting feeder calves to Israel

Israel’s domestic calf production is currently insufficient to meet their rising demand for fresh beef. Israel imports approximately 150,000 feeder calves annually, many of them 200 to 330-pound Holstein bulls. Preferred breeds are Simmental, Hereford and Charolais crossbreds. Prior to the discovery of BSE in the country’s herds, Poland was the largest supplier of feeder calves to Israel. Many feeder calves have also come from other countries in Eastern Europe and Australia. With growing concerns about the health, wholesomeness, and performance of imported cattle, Israeli producers have been seeking new feeder calf suppliers.  

The Negev Foundation conducted a preliminary study to determine the feasibility of Ohio as a new source for bull calves. The Negev Foundation facilitated discussions between Ohio producers and Israeli government entities. As talks progressed, the Initiative received a USDA Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program (FSMIP) grant through the ODA which funded a more detailed study. The grant also funded a trade mission in February 2004 that sent ten Ohio cattle producers, Ohio Department of Agriculture officials (including ODA Director Dailey), and Ohio State University representatives to Israel to meet with potential Israeli buyers, industry, trade association, local and federal government representatives, and numerous cattle experts. They also visited feedlot operations, studied kosher requirements, toured supermarkets, and explored which breeds of feeder calves would be preferred. 

Just weeks prior to the mission, Israel banned all U.S. beef and cattle imports because of a case of Bovine Spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in Washington State. USDA’s Animal and Plant Health inspection Service (APHIS) and Israel’s Veterinary Service needed to resolve outstanding veterinary protocol issues beyond BSE. This setback prevented beef trade between Israel and Ohio in the short-term, but did not deter the Initiative from pursuing the goals of recommencing and later expanding beef trade. 

In April of 2005, 19 representatives of the Israeli Beef Breeders Association participated in a U.S. mission. This group inspected herds and visited farms in several states, including Ohio. The mission gave potential Israeli buyers a better understanding of U.S. and Ohio beef and dairy cattle production systems, live cattle export process, and animal health issues.  

Later that year, an Israeli delegation joined by the Director of the Israeli Veterinary Services and Animal Health, Dr. Moshe Chaimovitz, came to Ohio seeking information on BSE status and prevention. The delegation, sponsored by The Initiative met with the ODA director and toured feed farms and other cattle facilities.

Due to pressure of various organizations, including the Negev Foundation, in 2008 Israel’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Veterinary Services and Animal Health Department issued new regulations for the importation of American beef from calves if certain criteria were met. Israel also announced that shipments could begin in the very near future. In the future, the Initiative expects to be a catalyst for U.S. beef exports to Israel.

For additional details, see back to top

Other Ohio Exports to Israel

Since its inception, the Initiative has worked to strengthen the economic ties between Ohio and Israel’s agriculture and food industries. Much of this work is done through promoting trade, which the Initiative has helped progress by connecting Israeli distributors with Ohio producers. Israel and Ohio businesses often request assistance and contact information from the Initiative. In addition to the products detailed on this website, the Initiative has also promoted business opportunities for other Ohio products including popcorn, beef, dry wines, kosher foods and gardening equipment and machinery.

Israel Exports to Ohio

Due to a rise in sales of private-label (store brand) products in the U.S., The Initiative approached Ohio food companies to gauge their interest in relationships with Israeli counterparts and the European and Middle Eastern markets. The Initiative also explored leads from Israeli companies that have expressed interest in producing food in America under Israeli labels.

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  • Calf feeder System
    Israeli-made, automatic calf feeder system or “Smart Nursing Station”
  • Feeder calf mission
    Former Ohio Department of Agriculture Director Fred Dailey (left) on a Feeder Calf Mission to Israel in February 2004 with Gilad Sharon (center) and Chaim Dayan, chairman of Israel’s Beef Breeders Association (left)at Sycamore Farms, the Sharon Family ranch.

An interest in an Israeli-made, automatic calf feeder system, or “Smart Nursing Station,” by Ohio cattlemen has led the Negev Foundation to examine its potential market in the U.S. The device utilizes Israeli software and is composed of American, Dutch and Israeli parts. The Smart Nursing Station is a complex system that senses animals in chutes, monitors food intake, maintains records, and prevents overfeeding.

Ohio cattlemen were introduced to the Smart Nursing Station at Kibbutz Revivim during the 2004 delegation of cattlemen to Israel. The automatic feeder is already in commercial use in Israel and Ohio farmers found that they could utilize the Smart Nursing Station for their own dairy and beef operations. Subsequent delegations to Israel also had the opportunity to view the Smart Nursing Station and it was presented at the Farm Science Review’s Israel Agriculture Pavilion.

Gavish, an Israeli company that manufactures software and equipment to monitor and control greenhouse, dairy farm, and fish farm operations, would like to expand into the U.S.  This operation, based in Ohio, would maintain engineering, software development, and marketing for their products. The automatic calf feeder system would be Gavish’s first U.S. project and they already have revised the Smart Nursing Station software for U.S. application.

Gavish hopes to provide model systems to two Ohio dairy operations. They would also like to develop a study, in collaboration with OSU, of the system’s efficacy in Ohio conditions. The Initiative hopes to partner with an Ohio farm to complete a test phase of the device’s applied capabilities and usefulness. back to top