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Office of Governor Pete Ricketts

Gov. Ricketts, Ag Department Tout Growing EU Beef Exports

Media Contacts:

Taylor Gage, Governor’s Office, 402-471-1970

Christin Kamm, Ag Department, 402-471-2341


Companies sign letters of intent expanding the Nebraska brand.


LINCOLN – Today, Governor Pete Ricketts and the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) announced that a recent trade mission led by state officials to the European Union led to agreements expanding markets for Nebraska beef.  Last week, a delegation led by NDA Director Greg Ibach met with leaders from a number of European companies and signed six letters of intent formalizing commitments to purchase and promote Nebraska beef. 


“Growth in demand for Nebraska beef in Europe is helping grow our market share and grow Nebraska,” said Governor Pete Ricketts, “I am committed to supporting our beef industry by promoting the Nebraska beef brand all around the globe.  Missions like these continue to help Nebraska’s share of beef exports grow exponentially both in the EU and around the world.”   


Nebraska is the number one producer of beef in the nation, and the high-quality, great-tasting beef it produces continues to grow in popularity across the world. 


“Signing these letters of intent is great news for Nebraska's farmers and ranchers,” said NDA Director Greg Ibach.  “Nebraska has long been a leader and innovator in beef production, raising some of the best cattle and beef in the world.  By promoting the Nebraska brand of excellence and quality we will continue to increase our exports of beef.  More exports mean more jobs and growth in the Nebraska economy.” 


Representatives from import companies and restaurant chains doing business in England, Germany, Italy, Sweden and the Netherlands met with Ibach and others.  The delegation included: Chris Calkins, professor of Animal Science, University of Nebraska; Myron Danner, Nebraska Rancher and member of the Nebraska Beef Council; Jerry Wiggs, Greater Omaha Packing Company; and Stan Garbacz, Nebraska Department of Agriculture.


During the trip, the group promoted the attributes of the Nebraska beef production system.  They touted the grasslands, where families raise their herds to produce calves that will fill the feedlots across Nebraska and those cattle will consume locally-grown corn, distillers grains, and roughages.  The group went on to share that these finished cattle are processed in plants that pay special attention to consumer expectations and food safety.  This unique system allows Nebraska’s farm families to feed families around the world.


In 2005, when NDA started promoting Nebraska beef in partnership with the Nebraska Beef Council, the United States exported $36.3 million of beef to Europe.  Nebraska’s share was $1.8 million or 5 percent.  Ten years later in 2015, when the U.S. exported $315.4 million to Europe, Nebraska’s share of the market had grown to 45.2 percent or $142.7 million.  In the first 6 months of 2016, Nebraska has continued to grow our market share exporting 50 percent of the U.S. total.  


The following is a summary of the delegations activities during the trip: 


London, England - Met with Goodman Restaurants to sign a letter of intent for the group to increase purchases of Nebraska beef.  A new customer, Roar Global, signed a letter of intent to purchase and promote Nebraska beef.  This decision follows a visit to Nebraska this summer where they saw firsthand, the innovative system Nebraska families and businesses have created to produce high quality beef. 


Düsseldorf, Germany - Albers GmbH Foods pledged to continue to promote and expand their sales of Nebraska beef.  While in Germany, the Albers family hosted a promotional event to hear presentations from Chris Calkins and Myron Danner where 70 current and potential new customers learned how to utilize lower-priced wholesale cuts in the chuck to create value-added consumer cuts. 


Paris, France - The Nebraska delegation attended the SIAL Food Show where they met with numerous current and potential customers, including a potential importer for the China market when it opens.  While there, Gunnar Dafgärd AB of Sweden, and Meta Foods with European operations based in the Netherlands, signed letters of intent aimed at growing the Nebraska beef footprint. 


Valencia, Spain - The delegation presented at a workshop to share the Nebraska beef story with 50 potential customers of the INALCA company in Spain.  INALCA, an Italian importer, has been a long-term buyer of Nebraska beef and is working aggressively in the Spanish market to expand its sales.  INALCA pledged to work with Nebraska to accomplish this goal.