A Nebraska trade delegation to eastern Asia will build upon previous work in the region on agricultural exports and educational collaboration.
"I am a strong supporter of expanded trade," says Gov. Dave Heineman. "Today's announcement represents an important continuation of our trade efforts. Taiwan and Hong Kong are both very important markets for the state of Nebraska. They have been good customers, and it is critical that we continue to explore new opportunities with them."
Lt. Gov. Rick Sheehy will lead a small delegation to Taiwan and Hong Kong Aug. 9-17, while Nebraska Agriculture Director Greg Ibach will lead the trip when the group travels to Beijing, China, Aug. 18-20.
In addition to Sheehy and Director Ibach, members of the delegation include: Ronnie Green, University of Nebraska Vice President for Agriculture and Natural Resources; Chris Calkins, UNL animal science professor; J.D. Alexander, Pilger cattleman J.D. and president-elect of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association; and Stan Garbacz, Nebraska Department of Agriculture trade representative.
Heineman led a trade mission to the region in 2007, and last year a Nebraska trade delegation returned from Taiwan with signed agreements with Taiwanese representatives for an estimated $500 million in corn, soybeans and wheat exports.
"Nebraska is a critical player in the global marketplace," Sheehy says. "We must continue to build relationships that lead to results for our farmers, ranchers and agribusinesses. With Hong Kong as one of the largest ports in the world, it's a valuable opportunity to continue to pursue our trade mission efforts."
In 2010, Hong Kong was Nebraska's sixth largest agricultural trade partner, and Taiwan was the state's seventh largest.
Sheehy will be accompanied in Taiwan by Garbacz. They will visit representatives of Taiwanese organizations who signed a letter of intent last year for the purchase of corn, soybeans and wheat, valued at approximately $500 million. The agreement was to be carried out over two years.
"We will review the status of that agreement and discuss any new opportunities for the sale of commodities and potentially value-added agricultural goods," Sheehy adds.
The remainder of the delegation will join the Sheehy and Garbacz in Hong Kong. The group will participate in several beef promotions, including helping host a reception that will feature Nebraska beef and pork. Invited guests will include representatives of Hong Kong government agencies responsible for import protocols and food sector representatives.
Green, who serves as UNL vice chancellor overseeing the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, will engage in discussions with Chinese higher education leaders, with the goal to develop relationships that lead to educational exchanges and other collaborations.
The delegation in Beijing, China, will focus on dry edible bean export development. Nebraska Department of Agriculture, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the Nebraska Dry Bean Commission are partnering with the United States Department of Agriculture and the Chinese Institute of Food Science and Technology will host a one-day conference exploring the use of dry edible beans in the Chinese diet.
"Previous discussions have helped us crack the door of the Chinese marketplace," Ibach says. "Now we just need to open it. The potential in China for dry edible beans is huge."