WUSATA looks at strategic planning to better serve customers
Washington, D.C. – Western U.S. Agricultural Trade Association (WUSATA) Executive Director Brooke Markley emphasized big goals and continued growth for Western agribusiness exports during the 2023 Winter Policy Meeting held in Washington, D.C. on Feb. 15.
“There have been some significant accomplishments in the last year, despite the challenges,” she explained, noting WUSATA is working toward rebranding, refocusing and realigning with strategic program goals in the next 10 years.
“The four pieces of focus driving our strategic planning process are operation infrastructure, a member-state working relationship, program performance and marketing and outreach,” Markley noted. “This is our starting point and our baseline.”
Markley explained the board approved hiring of a consultant who helped the organization conduct a strategy design to help WUSATA better partner with companies in the region.
“Up until this report, released in September, the team spent 500 hours between our team, the board, members, the Foreign Agricultural Service and others working on this initiative,” she explained, noting there were individual interviews, surveys and information gathered.
She noted the strategic plan is a living document, which will be revisited every quarter.
Additionally, the consultant continues to work with the WUSATA team to section the plan in quarterly priorities, which keeps the organization on track for accomplishing its goals.
“My focus is on rebuilding and repairing the WUSATA Foundation and culture,” Markley said. “Our next steps will be in working with our program partners to strength those relationships.”
Aligning with a long-standing mission and core values, WUSATA has developed a concrete plan for achieving its goals through its new strategic plan.
“In our first quarter, we are making our core values of trust, service, integrity, excellence and accountability more visible,” Markley explained. “Our vision for 2023 is making sure Western agribusinesses thrive in world markets.”
To meet this vision, WUSATA will leverage its networks to build the American Dream for Western agribusinesses by expanding their sales beyond U.S. borders.
Additionally, WUSATA strives to ensure U.S. food and ag products are showcased around the world – both in restaurants and on grocery store shelves.
The end result of these efforts will lead toward a bigger goal – more profitable small businesses in the Western U.S.
“Profits for small business owners increase through export sales,” Markley said. “Jobs are created in production, manufacturing and transportation to support international growth.”
She added, “No longer do international customers have to visit the Western U.S. to have a taste of the West.”
In looking to expand customers for its program areas, WUSATA is focused on small to medium agribusinesses in the Western states and U.S. Pacific territories. In 2023, Markley noted immediate wins can be seen by assessing partners in each program area – export readiness, global connection and FundMatch.
“We think about export readiness as companies that are ready to bridge the gap. They’re ready to export,” she said. “They are a small company, distributing locally and interested in expanding globally. What resources can we use to help them learn about exporting globally?”
The Export Readiness Program provides access to market intelligence and consumer insights through a variety of platforms and helps partners learn to facilitate their international marketing efforts.
The Global Connect Program targets larger companies with existing systems for exports and are looking to begin exporting to key markets by helping companies discover new markets and connect with international buyers.
The FundMatch Program is for larger companies who are already exporting and have a plan but are seeking the 50 percent matching funds to help them reach their goals. The program helps current exporters to compete by providing financial support for marketing and promotional activities.
Markley noted WUSATA is already competitive as a result of its existing network of export resources, territory partners, market exports and more.
Additionally, funding reliability through the Market Access Program and a “guided experience” will program customersʼ structure, systems and processes to provide higher service for customers throughout their interactions with WUSATA.
“Service is a huge piece of our strategy going forward,” Markley said. “Our proven process is to help companies find out what their needs are, and we are guiding them through the process on their journey towards international growth.”
Saige Zespy is a corresponding writer for the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to firstname.lastname@example.org.