Together, We've Made Nebraska a Global Brand
December 15, 2022
In Nebraska, the crops we grow, livestock we raise, goods we manufacture, and innovations we develop make an impact far beyond our borders. Nebraskans have long known that. Increasingly, the world does too.
Growing Nebraska's international presence has been a pillar of my administration. Since I took office, we've made trade missions to eleven different countries to forge new partnerships and increase investments in the Good Life. As a result of these missions, our state has become its own global brand.
Just last week, I led a delegation of Nebraska agriculture businesses, state agricultural organizations, the Department of Agriculture (NDA), and the Department of Economic Development (DED) to Japan. While there, we thanked existing partners for their continued investments in our state and discussed ways to increase our agriculture and ethanol exports. This was our fourth and final trade mission to Japan during my administration.
These trade missions have solidified Japan as one of our most valued trade partners. For example, they are our second largest market for agriculture exports. They are our largest international market for pork. In 2021, 56% of Nebraska's pork exports went to Japan. And they represent the second largest international market for beef. Since 2015, annual beef exports to Japan have increased by $215 million annually. That's an 88% increase.
Last week, we explored opportunities to grow Nebraska's agriculture exports even more. Right now, there is a unique opportunity to increase beef sales after the Japanese legislature approved new beef tariff trigger levels. The new safeguard mechanism will make it less likely that U.S. beef exports will trigger higher tariffs, which means our state can do even more to meet Japan's growing demand for quality beef.
Additionally, we are positioning Nebraska as Japan's go-to source for ethanol and sustainable aviation fuel, or SAF. As part of their country's commitment to reduce its carbon footprint, Japanese officials are looking to increase the country's ethanol blending requirement for all gasoline, including jet fuel. This will increase demand for biofuels. And Nebraska can easily help meet that need, since our state has 24 ethanol production facilities with the capacity to produce nearly 2.6 billion gallons of ethanol a year.
In many ways, investing in and trading with Nebraska is an easy sell: Our central location and abundant natural resources make Nebraska a reliable partner for a variety of goods. Our strong work ethic, high labor force participation rate (#1 in the nation at 69.8%), and investments to develop our talent pipeline make us a secure place to invest and grow.
However, our best asset is our people. This is why we make sure our farmers, ranchers, and industry leaders are a part of the delegation when we engage in trade missions. They are the best ambassadors of Nebraska. They tell their story better than anyone.
In a market that places a high premium on the quality of their food, that story gives us a major advantage. With 95% of Nebraska's farms being family owned, we have abundant examples of the adaptations our farm families make to ensure that our beef, pork, corn, and other crops remain best-in-the-nation. People are often surprised to learn that Nebraska's farmers and ranchers are the original conservationists-but there's never a doubt that what they import from us is the best there is to offer.
On trade missions, our export partners hear it straight from our producers. The delegation to Japan included Nebraska cattle ranchers and hog, corn, and wheat farmers, which gave them the chance to tell the story of their multi-generational operations and the great work they're doing to care for their land and animals. For instance, our agriculture delegation shared the success of the U.S. cattle industry producing 66% more beef while reducing its carbon footprint by 40% since the 1960s. They also highlighted that U.S. beef production has some of the lowest greenhouse gas emissions in the world-10-50 times lower than in many other parts of the globe.
The willingness of Nebraska's farmers and ranchers to meet foreign consumers, businesses, and officials is invaluable as we work to strengthen partnerships and increase trade. So, to everyone who has gone on State trade missions during my time as Governor: thank you. We have succeeded in growing Nebraska globally because of your involvement.
I am confident that in the coming years, the State will continue building on the relationships we've forged and will further the Nebraska brand worldwide. If you would like to learn more about our trade strategy and initiatives, please email me at [email protected] or call 402-471-2244.