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Governor Ricketts, Trade Mission Team Share Nebraska Beef Story during Italy Stops

Audio here.

MODENA, Italy ­­- Governor Pete Ricketts and members of the trade mission team to the European Union met with a beef distributor in Italy Monday to focus on driving the value and demand for Nebraska beef products. Trade mission team members represented all segments of the beef production chain during events with Inalca, one of the largest purchasers of Nebraska beef in the European Union.

“Any good business person knows that your current customers are your best customers,” said Gov. Ricketts. “That’s why it is so important to meet face to face with the leaders at Inalca to better understand their business and find out how we can assist them in expanding their customer base. What is good for them, is good for us.” 

The meetings with Inalca in north central Italy are part of the Governor's inaugural trade mission, which is stopping in Italy, Belgium, and Denmark, June 7-16. The trade mission, being coordinated jointly by the Nebraska Departments of Agriculture and Economic Development, includes 30 Nebraskans. 

Inalca is headquartered near Modena and has been processing and distributing meat products since 1966. Nebraska Agriculture Director Greg Ibach said trade mission participants had the chance to tour the Inalca processing facility and visit with the company owners to gain an understanding of additional ways for Nebraska to grow its market share in the European Union. 

“While the United States and the European Union may take different stances on beef trade policy, Nebraska’s beef community has found a way to be successful in what could be considered a limited marketplace,” Ibach said. “We need to continue to build on our relationships with existing European partners, and the best way we can do that is tell our story.”

Nebraska cattle feeder Mike Drinnin said he found value in the conversations he was able to have with Inalca company officials.

“They were very interested in hearing specifics of why we utilize certain practices,” said Drinnin from Clarks, Nebraska. “The dialogue is meaningful because it helps us all get a better understanding of who our customers are, and the type of quality they demand. And we know the Nebraska beef industry can deliver that quality.”

Tomorrow the delegation will take part in a luncheon meeting with customers to whom Inalca distributes Nebraska beef before departing for Belgium.

“There seems to be a genuine interest from our customers in learning about what we do in Nebraska,” Gov. Ricketts said. “From the cow-calf producer to the processor, our trade team is able to share their knowledge base in a personal, meaningful way that I believe can result in more sales down the line.”

Export sales are an important part of the overall Nebraska agriculture economy. For the beef sector, exports add roughly $350 in value to every animal sold. Beef and beef product exports from Nebraska to the European Union have steadily increased in the past four years. In 2010, Nebraska exported more than $67.5 million in beef and beef products, but reached more than $136.7 million in 2014.

The trade team has a series of events Wednesday in Bologna, Italy, before leaving for Brussels.