German coalition visits Springfield, discusses agriculture industry

Representatives from across Ohio met with a group of German officials to discuss agriculture workforce trends in Clark County.

The meeting, which took place at the Global Impact Stem Academy in Springfield, touched on how corporations can help students become more interested in agriculture fields.

“Careers in food and agriculture tend to be misunderstood. They tend to be thought of as ‘farmer working in the field’,’” said Melanie Flax-Wilt, Clark County Commissioner. “As we know it’s so much more than that. It’s processing, it’s manufacturing, it’s food science, microbiology, micro-chemistry.”

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The German coalition visiting Springfield includes members of the German American Chamber of Commence Midwest and other heads of German food-related organizations.

Jessica Ferklass, representative with GACC Midwest, said the purpose of the GACC Midwest visiting areas like Springfield is to help German companies expand into markets in the United States.

“The idea of trips like this is to get regions and industry groups, between Germany and the U.S., together to exchange best practices and look into education, skills and what can we learn from each other,” Ferklass said.

Other members include; Christian Kircher, CEO for LI Food in Germany, Oliver Kolsch, manager of the Federation of German Food and Drink Industries, Andreas Eckstein, an official representative to the U.S. German State of Lower Saxony and Jessica Ferklass, GACC Midwest.

The coalition arrived in Clark County on Sunday and will finish their trip today. During that time period they will have visited and toured the Global Impact Stem Academy, Woeber Mustard, Gordon Food Service, Dole Fresh Vegetables and Harbage Farms.

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Hobbs said the trip was orchestrated by the German-American Chamber of Commerce and Clark County is one of the three areas of the Midwest the Germans will visit. The group is also visiting Minnesota and Missouri.

“We want to develop a relationship that could lead to sustainable job growth and a growing, stronger Clark County economy,” Hobbs said. “My hope is we start to develop a strong working relationship with Germany.”

In May, Hobbs, Flax Wilt and other Chamber members will visit Germany to continue discussions about future agriculture development within Clark County.

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