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Office of Governor Pete Ricketts

Governor Ricketts and Trade Delegates Tout Nebraska as Ideal Food Processing Location

Audio here.

The 2015 World Expo on “Food” in Milan, Italy, served as a key visit on the itinerary of Gov. Pete Ricketts and his first trade mission to the European Union. 

“Nebraska has a real strength in food production and food processing, so it’s a natural tie in with our farmers’ and ranchers’ outstanding reputations for producing high-quality meat and other agricultural products,” said Gov. Ricketts. “Add in the University of Nebraska’s nationally acclaimed food science program, and there are all sorts of outstanding opportunities for international companies wanting to do business in Nebraska.” 

Gov. Ricketts and delegates visited the World Expo in Milan on the second day of their stay in Italy. Expo Milano 2015 runs from May 1-October 31, during which time more than 140 participating countries will showcase best practice technologies to guarantee a healthy, safe and sufficient food supply. In addition to the exhibitor nations, the Expo partners with a myriad of international organizations, expecting to welcome more than 20 million visitors to its 1.1 million square meter exhibition area. The Expo offers a platform where ideas are exchanged and solutions are shared about food safety, creativity, and innovation.

Gov. Ricketts and delegates met with key executives and organization representatives at the World Expo, including CNH Industrial, a multinational company headquartered in Italy. CNH Industrial’s Grand Island facility manufactures many of the combines for the North American market.

Gov. Ricketts and delegates toured the CNH Industrial pavilion, which showcased cutting edge technology, including harvesting equipment, tractor prototypes, and biofuel projects. After the tour, the Governor and Nebraska’s Directors of Agriculture and Economic Development met privately with leaders at CNH Industrial’s corporate headquarters in Turin, Italy.

The group also visited with the Secretary General and Vice President of Coldiretti, an Italian farmer and food processor association.  Coldiretti hosted a luncheon for Gov. Ricketts and delegates that included several company executives. Coldiretti is the largest farmer’s association in Italy and one of the largest in all of Europe.

“Getting the opportunity to learn more about how Italy approaches its quality food production and food processing provided excellent points of comparison and benchmarking with Nebraska’s own high standards of food production and output,” said Brenda Hicks-Sorensen, Director of the Nebraska Department of Economic Development.

On Wednesday, Gov. Ricketts and the Nebraska delegates hosted a promotional event in Bologna, Italy, an area well-known for food and food processing companies.  The business seminar introduced Italian company officials to resources and services that the state offers and showcased the benefits of doing business in Nebraska.

The event featured a welcome from the Consul General and remarks by Gov. Ricketts, Nebraska Ag Director Greg Ibach, and Hicks-Sorensen.  Potential investors also heard from Rolando Flores, Director of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) Food Processing Center, and Dan Duncan, Director of UNL’s Innovation Campus.

Marco Checchi, a Bolognese businessman and CEO of Pelliconi SpA, talked generally about his experience in investing in the U.S. market. Suji Park, who moved her global headquarters to Nebraska, talked specifically about her experience with investing in Nebraska.

Following the seminar, Gov. Ricketts and delegates traveled to the Roadhouse Grill, where they dined and met with customers who had purchased Nebraska beef.

Biofuels and biosciences have also been a significant focus for the Governor’s first international trade mission. The delegation met with representatives from Enel Energy, an Italian power company that does extensive work with biofuels and renewable resources.

After wrapping up business in Italy, Gov. Ricketts and the delegation flew to Brussels, Belgium.