National Business Briefs

New Mexico to lead trade delegations to Germany, Mexico

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico is leading trade delegations to Germany and Mexico as the state’s Santa Teresa border region sees its exports rise.

The New Mexico Economic Development Department and the New Mexico Trade Alliance are hosting trips to trade shows and offering grants to help businesses, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported.

The state in March will lead trade delegations to a trade fair for hunting, shooting sports and equipment for outdoor activities in Nuremburg, Germany. In addition, New Mexico will take a delegation for a solar power event in Mexico City.

A delegation also will travel to Germany in April for a trade show on industrial technology.

Officials said a Small Business Administration State Trade Expansion Program grant will cover the booth lease costs that can amount to $5,000 to $7,000.

Companies must be export-ready and produce enough to cover international market demand for their products, said Edward Herrera, director of the Office of International Trade at the Economic Development Department.

Santa Fe companies Santa Fe Stoneworks and Wicked Edge have attended the Nuremberg shows several times.

“The state assisting us with a booth, that’s a whole different thing,” Santa Fe Stoneworks owner Bill Wirtel said. “With the help of New Mexico Economic Development, it was feasible to go back a second year (and more years).”

Wirtel estimates government subsidies covered 30 percent to 40 percent of the cost of going to an international trade show.

He said he met a Danish entrepreneur at the Nuremberg, Germany, show that led to the creation of a second Santa Fe business for Wirtel, Raffir USA. This company does U.S. distribution of fossils from the North Sea, hard woods from Bulgaria and Chinese composites supplied from Denmark.

The trade delegations come as New Mexico’s Santa Teresa Port of Entry in Dona Ana County has seen a rise in traffic.

In 2016, for example, Dona Ana County’s total exports grew to $1.6 billion, surpassing Albuquerque’s $1 billion.

Maui’s Mahi Pono plans to offer farm lots to local farmers

WAILUKU, Hawaii (AP) — The company that bought a vast expanse of Maui land from Hawaii’s last sugar cane plantation plans to kick off its new operations by offering lots to local farmers to grow their crops.

Mahi Pono principal Ceil Howe III told The Maui News it will offer 1-, 5- and 10-acre community farm blocks to local farmers. Farmers would also have access to Mahi Pono’s equipment, management, budgeting and marketing services.

Mahi Pono is a joint venture of California-based Pomona Farming and the Canadian Public Sector Pension Investment Board.

It bought 41,000 acres from Alexander & Baldwin in December after the longtime sugar grower decided in 2016 to get out of the agriculture business and focus on real estate development.

Mahi Pono was looking at placing the lots near the old Puunene Mill, a central and visible location that has access to water and is sheltered from the wind, Howe said.

The farm also would provide plots for research and offer an internship program for local high school and college students. It also would have an advisory board of local community members, who would set the rules and parameters.

Shan Tsutsui, Mahi Pono senior vice president of operations and Hawaii’s former lieutenant governor, said the company is still working out how much it will lease the land for.

Mahi Pono inherited several non-sugar agriculture ventures of Alexander & Baldwin, including Kulolio Ranch, a 5,500-acre grass-fed cattle operation.

Tsutsui and Howe said Thursday that Mahi Pono’s future plans also include planting leafy green vegetable crops over the next six to eight months. It eventually expects to grow citrus, macadamia nuts and avocados for the local market.

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