OMAHA – Governor Pete Ricketts and Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) Director Greg Ibach joined Greater Omaha Packing (GOP) President Henry Davis to load the first box of beef from Nebraska destined for China.
“Nebraska is the country’s top beef processor as well as beef exporter, and China is the second largest importer of beef in the world,” said Governor Ricketts. “From the beginning, my administration focused trade efforts on China to position Nebraska beef to be able to capture significant sales as soon as the market opened.”
Over the last two years, Governor Ricketts has strongly advocated to reopen China to American beef. In 2016, the Governor led a trade mission to China to share the story of Nebraska beef with potential customers in anticipation of the market re-opening.
In 2015, the Governor visited Beijing to urge the Chinese government to reopen the Chinese market to American beef.
Last year, he visited with then candidate Donald J. Trump about the importance of the Chinese beef market to Nebraska. The President subsequently pledged to make reopening the market a priority for his administration.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for Nebraska and we are excited to continue the work we started years ago to develop and strengthen relationships with China,” said NDA Director Greg Ibach. “When people around the world think about high quality, delicious beef, they think Nebraska, and we are now pleased to be able to offer those Nebraska beef products to China.”
Final details concerning export requirements to resume beef shipments to China were released Monday. Among the requirements, U.S. producers must track the birthplace of cattle born in the United States that are destined for export to China. Many Nebraska producers already do this.
“Chinese officials toured our company’s Omaha plant last fall to learn about our high international animal health and food safety standards and traceability and labeling protocols,” said GOP President Henry Davis. “We’re excited to be shipping beef to China for the first time in 14 years.”
“Thank you to the countless federal, state, and industry partners who worked together to make this a reality,” said Governor Ricketts. “Our recent trade missions to China and the efforts of Ag Director Ibach, Economic Development Director Dentlinger and their teams helped lay the groundwork for this success. Access to the Chinese market allows Nebraska farmers and ranchers to sell our quality beef to 1.4 billion new customers, and this will help to grow our state for years to come.”
Beef exports will greatly complement Nebraska’s current successes in the Chinese marketplaces with soybeans, distiller’s products, and pork. NDA and the Nebraska Department of Economic Development will work to identify future promotional opportunities in a continued partnership with Nebraska’s beef community in an effort to increase the sales of Nebraska beef specifically in China.
Since 2005, Nebraska’s share of the international U.S. beef sales have increased from 3.6 percent to more than 18 percent, and Nebraska’s market share in Europe has increased from 5 percent to nearly 50 percent of total sales.