Professional Delegations
and Educational Missions

The Initiative has organized a number of mission trips for agriculture stakeholders. The first mission trip to Israel took place in February 2004 and included ten Ohio cattle producers, the Ohio Department of Agriculture officials, including the ODA Director, and Ohio State University representatives. To date, the Initiative has conducted twenty-four tours; ten delegations traveled from Ohio to Israel and fourteen delegations from Israel to Ohio. These educational and trade-related trips have brought farmers, researchers, academics, businessmen, and government officials together to discuss issues that are important to both Ohio and Israel’s agriculture industries. Mission trip participants have toured state-of-the-art agriculture facilities, experienced innovative technology, met their respective industry counterparts, and participated in international tradeshows. They have also participated in and led seminars and workshops on their areas of expertise. A number of research & development projects, technology exchanges, and trade opportunities have been developed as results of these mission trips.

During the 2008 fiscal year alone, the Initiative organized ten agriculture delegations between Israel and Ohio. Eighty-two individuals took part in the 2008 delegations: 9 Israelis traveled to Ohio and 73 Ohioans traveled to Israel. Reciprocal dairy and greenhouse industry missions were conducted when Ohio experts visited Israel and again in the following month when Israeli experts visited Ohio.

Listed below are the mission trips sponsored by the Initiative:

To Israel:

  • Agribusiness/Trade – May 2006
  • Agriculture/Educational Tours – February 2006, February 2007, and February 2008
  • Aquaculture – December 2005
  • Dairy Industry – May 2008
  • Feeder Calf/Cattlemen– February 2004, September 2005, November 2006
  • Greenhouse Industry – March 2008

To Ohio:

  • Agribusiness/Trade – January 2008
  • Aquaculture – August 2006
  • Dairy Industry – August 2006, November 2007, and June 2008
  • Feeder Calf/Cattlemen/Beef Industry – April 2005, June 2005, January 2006, July 2006, March 2007, May 2007
  • Food Buyer – July 2007
  • Greenhouse Industry – April 2008
  • Rural Development – September 2007, January 2008
  • Water Management – November 2007

Because there are too many delegations to detail, a few selected descriptions are provided below. back to top

From September 17-26, 2007, Ami Ruzansky, an Israeli agriculture and rural development journalist toured Ohio. He gave a presentation titled "Israel's Agriculture and Rural Development - An Overview of Israel's Agriculture by Sectors and Rural Development Activities" to Ohio academic, extension, and OARDC staff. As part of his visit, Mr. Ruzansky toured agriculture locations and interviewed farmers. His journalism efforts resulted in the publication of articles on the Ohio agriculture sector by three Israeli agricultural magazines. Furthermore, while in Ohio, Mr. Ruzanksy participated in the 2007 Ohio Farm Science Review agriculture tradeshow.

On November 15, 2007, Mr. Shimon Tal, an Israeli expert specializing in water management, visited Ohio. Mr. Shimon Tal has previously given presentations to the U.N., World Bank, various governments, and other organizations on water resource issues and has also served as the Water Commissioner of Israel. While in Ohio, Mr. Tal exchanged ideas about possible trade opportunities, met with business leaders and academic personnel, including OSU’s President Mr. Gordon Gee, and gave a seminar titled “Sustaining Advanced Societies in Water Stressed Environments”. As a result of his delegation, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources expressed interest in continued communication and collaboration with Mr. Shimon Tal and the Columbus Jewish Community Federation expressed an interest in inviting Mr. Tal for a community wide lecture about the water issues in Israel.

On November 15, 2007, Mr. David Dror, an Israeli expert specializing in dairy management, visited Ohio. He presented a seminar titled “Genetic breeding in large cooperative dairy farms in Israel to enhance milk production and profitability” at the OSU School of Veterinary Medicine. During his visit, Mr. Dror toured various sites including OARDC dairy farms, met with Ohio business leaders, and visited the Fair Oaks Dairy Farm in Indiana.

From January 7-11, 2008, Moshe Goren, the Director General of Extension Service, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, visited Ohio to give presentations titled “The Extension Service in Israel” and “Rural Development in Israel” at OSU’s Columbus campus, South Centers in Piketon, OSU’s OARDC, and the Ohio Department of Agriculture.  Mr. Goren also toured Ohio agriculture facilities and met with agriculture experts, Department of Agriculture representatives, and academic and extension personnel. His visit resulted in an interest in establishing more professional delegations for extension workers and Ohio and Israeli farmers.

On January 8, 2008, Yakov Poleg, an Israeli Agriculture Attaché for Israel’s Embassy, visited Ohio to give a presentation titled “Agriculture Policy in the Framework of International Trade Guidelines” to academic and extension staff at OSU. The purpose of this trip was to provide education about trade policies affecting Israeli/American trade and to foster the development of such trade. Mr. Poleg also met with various government ODA and ODOD officials including ODA Director Robert Boggs and representatives from the governor’s office. As a result of his meeting with ODA, ODOD and the governor’s staff, Yakov Poleg drafted a Memorandum of Understanding with input from Israel’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

From April 6 - 14 2008, green industry experts from Israel’s Ministry of Agriculture - Extension Services toured green industry facilities in Cleveland, Toledo, and at OSU’s Wooster & Columbus campuses. The Israeli experts, Omar Zeidan, Director of the Israeli Extension Service, Deputy Director R&D and Director of Vegetables Division and Shlomo Israel, Floriculture Specialist for the Israeli Extension Service, gave presentations entitled “Growing Vegetables in Israel” and “Floriculture in Israel”. The delegates were hosted by OSU Extension’s Jim Chatfield, Extension Specialist Horticulture and Assistant State Specialist Landscaping Horticulture. An increased interest in establishing permanent channels to transfer information and professional knowledge about vegetable growing and floriculture between Israel and Ohio resulted from this delegation.

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 of Calves and Replacement Heifers, Ministry of Agriculture Extension Service, and Dr. Ran Solomon, Head of the Department of Cattle Husbandry, Ministry of Agriculture Extension Service. Their seminars, “Feeding and Managing Replacement Heifers in Israel” by Mr. Adin and “Nutrition and Feeding Management of Dairy Cows in Israel” by Dr. Solomon were given during this visit. As a result of this delegation recommendations were suggested which included: Organizing workshops in Israel on Ohio technology, introducing the Ohio bail wrapping/bagging techniques to Israel to replace bunker silo for silage, and introducing Israeli dairy industry products from companies such as SCR, Afimilk, and RMH Lachish to Israeli companies. back to top

An educational agriculture tour of Israel, co-sponsored by the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, took place from February 9 - 20 2008. The delegation was composed of 59 Ohioans from 21 counties - the largest Initiative delegation to date. The delegation included OSU Extension Director Dr. Keith Smith, Director of the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center Dr. Steve Slack, OFBF Director of Outreach Mike Pullins, and OFBF Trustees Gale Betterly and Bill Lowe, among others. Agriculture sectors represented in the delegation included: dairy, grains, green industry, livestock, fruits & vegetables, and aquaculture. An increased interest in collaboration between OSU and Israel on the bee colony collapse problem as well as an interest in incorporating some of the Israeli vegetable growing technologies seen in the mission by Ohio growers resulted from this delegation.

From March 8 - 16, 2008, 8 OSU extension personnel and other green industry and university experts participated in a delegation to Israel. Members included OSU Extension Specialists/Agents Jim Chatfield, Joe Boggs, Brad Bergefurd, Robin Stephenson, Denise Ellsworth, as well as Beth Fausey (Director of the Agriculture Business Enhancement Center), Paula Ross (Research Associate, Urban Affairs Center, University of Toledo), and Theresa Hoen (Hoen’s Greenhouse). The delegation toured facilities, met with government officials, and participated in workshops on issues facing the green industry.

Outcomes from the green industry delegation to Israel included:

  • An increased interest from the greenhouse industry delegation to incorporate some of the Israeli agriculture technologies seen in Israel.
  • Following the greenhouse mission and tour of Israel’s Center for International Agriculture Development and Cooperation, delegation member Brad Bergefurd (OSU Extension Specialist) established a drip irrigation demonstration for Ohio farmers at OSU’s South Centers Campus in Piketon using Israeli technology and equipment. A scaled-down portable demonstration unit of this system was developed for the OSU’s Ohio Farm Science Review Israel Agriculture Pavilion.
  • Theresa Hoen, owner of Hoen’s Greenhouse, incorporated Israeli ideas from the delegation trip into her garden center.
  • Beth Fausey (OSU Extension and Director of the Agriculture Business Enhancement Center) is building a hydroponics greenhouse at the ABE Center in Bowling Green, Ohio inspired by facilities she viewed in Israel.
  • An increased interest in joint Ohio-Israel research on integrated pest management (IPM) and ways in which the green industry can minimize its environmental footprint.

From May 24 –June 1, 2008, a four member Ohio delegation of dairy industry OSU extension personnel toured Israel. Members of this delegation included Don Breece Ph.D. (Assistant Director OSU Extension and Farm Management Specialist), Valente Alvarez Ph.D. (Director of the Food Industries Center at OSU), Steve Foster (Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator, Drake County), and Duane Rader (Extension Program Assistant Agriculture and Natural Resources Richland County). The delegation visited dairy sites, met with farmers and industry representatives, and participated and gave presentations in seminars and workshops about issues concerning the dairy industry in both regions.

Outcomes from the dairy industry delegation to Israel included:

  • An increased interest in sharing milk processing and cheese making expertise and methane production systems engineering.
  • An increased interest in exporting Ohio grains (from the expanding ethanol industry) to Israel dairies as feed.
  • The potential importation of Israeli TMR for Ohio dairy and cattle farms.
  • Interest in promoting OSU’s Agriculture and Environmental Sciences graduate program to Israeli college students.
  • Interest in establishing an exchange program for Extension Educators/Specialists to work and study in Israel. back to top
click image to enlarge
  • Israel Delegations to Ohio
    Shlomo Israel, Deputy Regional Director and Director of Regional Extension Service (center left), and Omar Zeidan, Deputy Director R&D and Director of the Department of Vegetables (front right) of the State of Israel Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development Extension Service visit Ohio greenhouses during their delegation from Israel to Ohio with Brad Bergefurd, OSU Extension Specialist (front left).
  • Israel Delegations to Ohio
    Yitzhak Simon Chief Extension—Aquaculture of the Israel Ministry of Agriculture and Aquaculture delegate from Israel to Ohio (right) visits a fish farm with Tom Yingling of Woodside Farms, Inc. (left).
  • Israel Delegations to Ohio
    Yitzhak Simon of the Israel Ministry of Agriculture (center) and Ilan Halachmi (right) of the Israel Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development visit a fish farm in Ohio on an Aquaculture delegation from Israel.
  • Israel Delegations to Ohio
    Yitzhak Simon of the Israel Ministry of Agriculture (left) and Ilan Halachmi (right) of the Israel Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development visit the fish farm of David Smith, Founder and President of Freshwater Farms of Ohio (center), on an Aquaculture delegation from Israel to Ohio.
  • Israel Delegations to Ohio
    Two Israeli dairy experts discuss issues with an Ohio farmer during the June 2008 dairy industry mission to Ohio. Center: Gaby Adin, Chief Extension Officer—Calves and Replacement Heifers and Right: Ran Solomon, Drector –Department of Cattle Husbandry.
  • Ohio Delegations to Israel
    Former Ohio Department of Agriculture Director Fred Dailey (left) with Chaim Dayan (right), chairman of Israel’s Beef Breeders Association (left), during a Feeder Calf Mission to Israel in February 2004
  • Ohio Delegations to Israel
    Ohio delegation to Israel for an Agribusiness Mission in May 2006
  • Ohio Delegations to Israel
    Ohio delegation to Israel for an Agribusiness Mission at the Ramat Negev Deseret Agroresearch Experimental Center
  • Ohio Delegations to Israel
    Omar Zeidan, Deputy Director R&D and Director of the Department of Vegetables (front right) of the State of Israel Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development Extension Service visiting an Ohio greenhouse
  • Ohio Delegations to Israel
    Former Ohio Department of Agriculture Director Fred Dailey (right) presents Chaim Dayan, chairman of Israel’s Beef Breeders Association (left), with a letter of recognition from Ohio Governor, Bob Taft, during a Feeder Calf Mission to Israel in February 2004.
  • Ohio Delegations to Israel
    Delegates from an Ohio to Israel mission visiting greenhouses in the Negev.