On Nebraska Agriculture
August 18, 2021
Nebraska’s Third District is the number one agriculture district in the nation. This past week, I hosted an agriculture summit where I was able to engage directly with Third District producers to hear how we can ensure our producers remain among the top producing in the country.
During the summit, we received insights on a wide array of issues that impact Nebraska’s Third District from four special guests. Mark Slupek, the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service Deputy Administrator for Global Programs, Jordan Schlake, our very own Nebraska Department of Agriculture Trade Representative, as well as John McCoy, the CEO of Orthman Manufacturing, and Norm Krug, the CEO of Preferred Popcorn, joined the discussion. We talked export trends for Nebraska agriculture products, export opportunities for Nebraska goods, resources on the federal and state level for those interested in promoting Nebraska products abroad, and the overall direction of our nation’s federal agriculture policy.
Our guests touched on just how important successfully operating supply chains and new trade missions are to both Nebraska and the nation. They shared everything from how the China Phase One deal has benefitted Nebraska’s exports, how essential it is to build a presence in a nation before being able to market and sell our goods there, and how trade has steadily represented an increasing percent of revenue for some of their companies, especially over the last few years.
One takeaway from each of our guests is that the key to continued success for our state exports is being able to grow. However, for this to occur and for agriculture products to be promoted, we need stability during turbulent times and a level playing field with our trading partners. For instance, a common theme I heard at the summit was how supply chain complications of any kind, whether that be steel-related, labor shortages, shipping container shortages, or just delays overall, will without a doubt be felt by Nebraskan companies. We also need to continue to promote brand recognition so overseas customers know how high quality our state’s products are. It reaffirmed how valuable trade missions are for businesses and reiterated my support for free trade agreements.
I am grateful to our guests for taking the time to share their expertise with not only myself, but with Nebraskans all across the Third District in my summit this week. For those interested in learning more about the various state and federal resources available for businesses exporting their products, please do not hesitate to reach out to my office. I remain committed to ensuring our state’s agriculture industry can compete in a global economy by advocating for sound agriculture and trade policies.