The Negev Foundation Ohio-Israel
Agricultural Initiative (OIAI)
2008/2009 Summary of Activities

This year, the Initiative’s activities worked to promote export and import between Ohio and Israel with a focus on specific sectors including the Green Industry, Dairy Industry, and Processed Food Industry.

The Initiative participated in several Ohio conferences, tradeshows, and exhibitions, including:

July 13-15, 2008 - OFA 08

OIAI participated in the floriculture annual meeting OFA Short Course in Columbus, OH from July 13-15, 2008. At the meeting, the Initiative staff presented OIAI information and Agritech 2009 materials. They also actively sought out Ohio companies from the floriculture industry that might be interested in trade with Israel and participating in the Ohio booth at Agritech 2009.

September 16 - 18, 2008 - The 2008 Ohio State University Farm Science Review (FSR08)

The Initiative presented Israeli agriculture technologies, companies, and organizations at the Ohio State University’s (OSU) Farm Science Review (FSR) from September 16 - 18, 2008. At this event, the Initiative sponsored an Israeli agriculture pavilion that made Israel the only foreign country to have its own pavilion at the FSR. Despite being threatened by severe winds that knocked over tents and displays, the event drew over 126,000 attendees who came together to browse the offerings of the agriculture industry.

Agriculture experts and marketing representatives showcased the Israeli irrigation, fertilizer, greenhouse, dairy, poultry, aquaculture, and other agri-technologies and products in the pavilion.  The Initiative presented visitors with products and services of a record 29 Israeli companies which included: 

  • AgroMind - Systems for automatic data collection from plant environments;
  • AgroSoft - Software for agriculture; Amiad Filtration Systems - Filtration systems for agriculture; Arad - Water meters for domestic, agriculture, and waterworks industries;
  • Arkal Industries - Water treatment filters and plastic leisure garden products;
  • Automation for Agriculture - Gear motors for ventilation in greenhouses, poultry houses, & dairy barns;
  • Danziger - Breeding and producing high quality flower varieties for growers;
  • Dorot Automatic Control Valves - Valves for agricultural, industrial & waterworks applications;
  • E.I.D. Electronics - Custom electronic monitor and control solutions;
  • Gavish Control Systems, Ltd. - Computerized systems for greenhouses, fish & dairy farms, and feed centers;
  • Ginegar Plastic Products, Ltd. - Field, mulch, and greenhouse covers;
  • Lachish Industries (RMH) - Producers of feed wagons for total mix ratio (TMR) for dairy farms; Netafim - Drip irrigation products and water management solutions;
  • Nutrition & Husbandry of Livestock Ltd. - Pectolit - Anti-diarrhea feed supplement for suckling calves;
  • Palram Industries Ltd. - Thermoplastic sheets; Paskal - Orchard, vineyard, and greenhouse items including hooks and clips;
  • PicPlast - Coated woven plastic sheets;
  • Plasson Ltd. - Industrial and agricultural plastics, automated poultry drinking & feeding systems;
  • Polak Bros. Industries Ltd. - CowKool - Dairy farms cow cooling system;
  • Polysack - ChromatiNet, Aluminet, & other shading, protection nets, and plastics (ground and greenhouse covers, support nets, mulching films);
  • PolyZiv - Custom plastic foam pallets and storage containers;
  • Raz Sprayers - Agricultural sprayers; Rotem Computerized Controllers - Agricultural management systems, and environment & irrigation controllers;
  • S.A.E. Afikim (Afimilk) - Computerized dairy management systems;
  • SCR Engineers Ltd. - Electronic and computerized systems for dairy, sheep, and goat farms; Shekel Scales - Customizable electronic scales and weighing systems;
  • SUBflex LTD - Supplier of submersible, flexible net cages for aquaculture systems;
  • Tefen Plastic Products Ltd - Plastic products for agricultural, garden, and industry applications;
  • TST (Tzvi Sophisticated Technologies) - Computerized control systems for automatic feeder calves identification & weighing and for open ponds & recirculating aquaculture operations.

Also represented were Israel Export & International Cooperation Institute, Israel Cattlemen’s Association, Israel Dairy Board, and Israel Dairymen’s Association (Israel Cattle Breeders Association).

Upon the opening of the pavilion, Yakov Poleg, Israel’s Agriculture Attaché, met with visitors and spoke about Israel’s contributions to the field of agriculture. “The FSR was a very good opportunity to see so many exhibitors over such a number of agriculture areas,” Mr. Poleg said. “I would like to go again and recommend that Israeli companies do everything possible to use the event as an opportunity to promote their work.”

In addition, OIAI reps encouraged Israel pavilion visitors and Ohio agricultural companies present at FSR08 to participate in the Ohio booth at Agritech 2009.

December 3, 2008 - Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) Hospitality Corner 2008

OIAI had a booth at the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation Annual Meeting’s Hospitality Corner in Columbus, OH on December 3 2008, where OIAI reps presented the Initiative’s activities, promoted trade opportunities with Israel, and recruited individuals and companies from Ohio to Agritech 2009.  This was the fourth consecutive year that the OIAI participated in this event

January 12-14, 2009 - Ohio Produce Growers & Marketers Association (OPGMA) Congress 09

OIAI representatives participated in the Ohio Produce Growers & Marketers Association (OPGMA) 2009 Congress on January 12-14, 2009 in Sandusky, OH. There, they promoted the Initiative’s activities and focused on the Ohio booth at Agritech 2009 tradeshow.  In addition, they approached and recruited Ohio green industry companies exhibiting in the Congress for Agritech 2009 and trade with Israel.   

January 15, 2009 - Ohio Seed Improvement Association (OSIA) Annual Conference “2009 Ohio Certified Seed Growers’ School”

On behalf of the Initiative, OIAI’s colleague John Armstrong, Secretary/Manager of the Ohio Seed Improvement Association (OSIA), promoted the Ohio booth at Agritech 2009 to conference participants at the Ohio Seed Improvement Association Annual Conference “2009 Ohio Certified Seed Growers’ School” in Columbus, OH, on January 15, 2009.

January 17, 2009 - Ohio Aquaculture Association (OAA) 09 Annual Conference and Tradeshow

OIAI participated in the Ohio Aquaculture Association’s annual conference and tradeshow in Reynoldsburg, OH on January 17, 2009. The Initiative’s booth at the conference contained  information promoting its Ohio-Israel aquaculture work, including technology transfer, trade, and internship program for Ohio aquaculture college students in Israel.  In addition, the Initiative’s representative recruited companies to participate in the Ohio booth at Agritech 2009 to promote Ohio export to Israel.  This was the fourth consecutive time the Initiative participated in the OAA’s annual meeting.

January 26-28, 2009 - Central Environmental Nursery Trade Show (CENTS)

OIAI participated in the Central Environmental Nursery Trade Show (CENTS) 2009, organized by ONLA (Ohio Nursery & Landscape Association) in Columbus, OH from January 26-28, 2009.  OIAI trade mission alumnus, Jim Chatfield of OSU Extension horticulture, promoted the Initiative’s activities at the OSU booth at CENTS. During his four presentations at the conference he also focused on the Ohio booth at the Agritech 2009 tradeshow. back to top


May 5-7, 2009 - Agritech 2009

The Initiative presented ten Ohio agribusinesses and seventeen Ohio agricultural and economic development regional organizations at a special Ohio booth at Agritech 2009 – the 17th International Agricultural Exhibition in Tel-Aviv Israel on May 5-7, 2009 (  Ohio was the only U.S. State to have a booth at the tradeshow.  The triennial event drew over 30,000 visitors from Israel and around the world and introduced them to agricultural products and innovations in all areas of agriculture.

  • The Ohio companies which participated in Agritech’s Ohio booth were:
  • DLM Plastics (Findlay, Ohio) – makes custom designed and manufactured flexible products; Graminex (Deschler, Ohio) - produces non-solvent extracted flower pollen;
  • Kinetico Incorporated (Newbury, Ohio) -  manufactures water treatment equipment;
  • Lauren International (New Philadelphia, Ohio) - engineers polymer products and materials;
  • Prime Equipment Group (Columbus, Ohio) - manufactures, sells, and services innovative poultry processing equipment;
  • Redex (Salem, Ohio) - manufactures and distributes the Udderly Smooth family of products for dry, chapped, and cracked skin;
  • Sure to Grow (Beachwood, Ohio) – creates plant growth media technology specifically for greenhouse and hydroponics;
  • Vernay Laboratories, Inc. (Yellow Springs, OH) - designs and manufactures precision elastomeric fluid control components;
  • YSI, Inc. (Yellow Springs, Ohio) - designs sensor instrumentation and real-time monitoring systems for natural resources and aquatic life;
  • YZ Enterprises, Inc. (Maumee, Ohio) – manufactures Almondina cookies.

Participating agricultural associations and organizations were: 

  • Ashland Area Council for Economic Development,
  • BioOhio,
  • Braintree Business Development Center,
  • Center for Innovative Food Technology,
  • Cincinnati USA Partnership,
  • Cleveland Plus,
  • Maumee Valley Growers,
  • Ohio Aquaculture Association,
  • Ohio Business Development Coalition,
  • Ohio Department Agriculture,
  • Ohio Department of Development,
  • Ohio-Israel Agricultural Initiative of The Negev Foundation,
  • Ohio Seed Improvement Association,
  • Ohio Soybean Council, Ohio State University (OSU),
  • Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center/OSU and Ohio State University Extension,
  • Tuscarawas County Port Authority, and Wayne Economic Development Council

The Ohio booth at Agritech 2009 was a big success, with great exposure and many visitors who stopped by the booth to explore economic opportunities between their companies and Ohio.  Many dignitaries attended the Ohio booth’s opening ceremony, including the U.S. Ambassador to Israel and Israel’s Minister of Agriculture. 

The Initiative’s team returned from the tradeshow with an extensive list of contacts which included companies that showed interest in collaborating with the Ohio companies and organizations represented by the Initiative.  The Initiative is currently helping to make connections between the 27 Ohio companies and organizations and the Israeli and international companies interested in collaboration and trade. back to top



June 14-22, 2008 - Dairy Extension

From June 14 - 22, 2008, two members of Israel’s dairy industry came to Ohio to meet with dairy industry members, tour facilities, and present seminars. The delegation members were Gaby Adin (Chief Extension Officer – Calves and Replacement Heifers, Ministry of Agriculture Extension Service) and Dr. Ran Solomon (Head – Department of Cattle Husbandry, Ministry of Agriculture Extension Service). Their seminars included “Feeding and Managing Replacement Heifers in Israel” by Mr. Adin and “Nutrition and Feeding Management of Dairy Cows in Israel” by Dr. Solomon.  Upon their return to Israel, they shared their experience and gained knowledge with their Israeli colleagues.  This was one of many professional delegations organized by the Initiative to promote agricultural technology transfer between Ohio and Israel


May 5-7, 2009 - Agritech 2009

Ohio was the only U.S. State to send a delegation to Agritech 2009 International Agricultural Tradeshow in Tel Aviv, Israel on May 5-7, 2009.  The delegation included two Initiative representatives, the CEO & Director of Business Assistance for Braintree Business Development Center, one of Northeast Ohio's Edison Technology Incubation Programs of Mansfield, OH, and representatives of two of the presenting Ohio companies - Kinetico and Vernay.


Drip Irrigation Demos and Workshops, OSU South Centers, 2008

One of the Ohio-Israel Agricultural Initiative’s projects that received great attendance, exposure, and press coverage in the past year was a series of drip irrigation demonstrations and workshops in Ohio (and Texas), using Israeli technology.

A portable demonstration unit prepared by an OSU Extension team headed by Brad Bergefurd (an Ohio to Israel Green Industry trade mission alumnus), with input from the Initiative and Netafim staff, was showcased at the Israel Agriculture Pavilion at the 2008 OSU Farm Science Review.  The demo unit was a great attraction and drew in lots of tradeshow visitors.  Using technology from Netafim Irrigation Inc., an Israeli irrigation company, the drip irrigation equipment displayed how efficiently a drip system can irrigate plants. By utilizing a direct application device, the micro irrigation unit has the ability to reduce water consumption by up to 50% and therefore, the systems have proven effective to save both time and water for growers.

The portable drip irrigation demo unit was also presented at the Israel Agriculture Booth at the National Farm Bureau Federations conference in San Antonio, Texas on January 11-12, 2009, which drew nearly 5,000 visitors.  OSU Extension’s Brad Bergefurd explained the system to booth visitors, while Israel’s Agriculture Attaché at the Israel Embassy in Washington D.C. and his staff recruited potential visitors to Agritech 2009 and participants to the Ohio booth.

A permanent micro-irrigation demonstration was established in a plot at the OSU South Centers at Piketon, OH. The research and education unit opened October 16th, 2008 to much fanfare. The plot was designed and built by Brad Bergefurd of OSU Extension and his team, with input from the Initiative’s staff and Israel’s Netafim company, using Netafim’s supplies.  Plans are in place for expanding the micro irrigation plot in the future to include technology and supplies of other Israeli micro irrigation companies such as filtration devices and fertilizer water driven pumps from Israel.

OSU Extension at South Centers in Piketon, OH has been using this micro irrigation demo plot throughout the year for workshops and training of Ohio farmers.  Typical workshops attract between 50 and 100 farmers at a time.  These workshops provide much information to  the farmers, and provide give excellent exposure to the Israeli technology and companies towards increased sales in Ohio.  In addition, the Initiative representative was able to promote OIAI activities, including recruitment to the Ohio booth at Agritech 2009..

The importance of the drip irrigation was emphasized by OSU Extension Agent Brad Bergefurd. He stated, "Water is an important resource in agriculture and is especially crucial when dealing with high-value specialty crops. If you don't get the right amount of water, you can't grow the crop. When you've got thousands of dollars invested, $10,000 an acre in plasticulture strawberries for example, you can't go without irrigation."

February 11, 2009 - ODA’s European Union Export Workshop

Presented by Tim Sword of ODA, The Initiative’s activities, with a focus on recruitment to the Ohio booth at Agritech 2009, were promoted at the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA)’s European Union Export Workshop in Reynoldsburg, OH on February 11, 2009. back to top

An Initiative representative participated in many professional meetings in Ohio throughout the year, promoting the Initiative’s projects and activities and recruiting Ohio companies for Ohio-Israel export-import opportunities in agriculture and processed food.  These professional meetings include:

  • BioScience Consortium of Northeast Ohio quarterly meetings, Ashland, OH on 9/24/08, 12/17/08, and 3/18/09.
  • Northeast Ohio Food Chain Network bimonthly meetings on 3/25/09 and 5/14/09.
  • Northeast Ohio Agribusiness Forum monthly meetings, Ashland, OH, on 6/27/08, 8/22/08, 9/26/08, 10/24/08, 1/23/09, 2/27/09, 3/27/09, 4/24/09, and 5/22/09.
  • Going Global International Trade Forum monthly meeting, Kent State University (KSU) campus, New Philadelphia, on 1/9/09 and 2/6/09.

Ohio Aquaculture Student Internship in Israel, Hocking College–Hazorea - Spring 2008

In the spring of 2008, the Initiative continued the tradition of sending Ohio students to Israel for aquaculture internships. Hocking College students Lucas Dunn of Berea, Ohio and Justin Telmanik of Seville, Ohio interned at an Israeli fishery in the Hazorea Kibbutz, bringing the total number of Ohio aquaculture interns to seven students since the Israel internship program began.  As a part of the three month program, the students had the opportunity to study recirculating aquaculture systems and learn valuable skills that will benefit the Ohio aquaculture industry.

Dr. Lloyd Wright, a mentor and professor of aquaculture at Hocking College called the experience unique explaining that it was “an opportunity for students from the Midwest dealing with cool water aqua systems to experience a whole different spectrum of the aquaculture system worldwide, particularly the food-fish perspective as opposed to the game-fish one.” He also said that the program was a tremendous experience for his students, and he hopes the internship continues.  Since completing the internship, both Lucas and Justin returned to Ohio, graduated, and are working in aquaculture. Their hope is to start an Ohio aquaponics business together in the future.

Throughout 2008, the Initiative issued numerous press releases, and as a result, many publications appeared in the media about the various projects and activities of the Initiative.

The OIAI Advisory Committee currently includes 25 committee members and seven ODA and OIAI staff. 

The Chairperson is Chris Gibbs. Sub-committee chairs are: Dr. Steve Slack - Academic Affairs and R&D; Mike Pullins – Missions; Fred Dailey and Don Branson - Commercial Agricultural Development; Bob Cohen - Trade Shows; Joyce Garver Keller and Karl Gebhardt - Government and Public Relations; John Foltz and Lenny Losh - Ways and Means; and Dr. Ken Martin - Extension Affairs.

The OIAI Advisory Committee and invited guests met twice in 2008, on July 8 and October 28, to hear about the Initiative’s projects and activities and offer feedback and input.