Gov. Pete Ricketts on Friday wrapped up his second trip in about a month to Japan, calling the past week’s trade mission to promote Nebraska ag products a success

LINCOLN, Nebraska — On Friday, Governor Pete Ricketts returned home from Japan, where he had been there for the second time in a little over a month, after concluding a trade mission there the previous week to promote agricultural products from Nebraska.

According to a press release, the governor of Nebraska and a trade delegation went to Japan to market Nebraska beef, pork, ethanol, and other agricultural goods to leaders in the Japanese government and business community. The Husker football team attempted to entice Japanese companies to set up shop in Nebraska.

Collaboration on ethanol

Ivan Rush, who is the director of the Nebraska Beef Council, Shana Beattie, who is the past president of the Nebraska Pork Producers Association, Mark Knobel, who is the chairman of the Nebraska Wheat Board, and Mark McHargue, who is the president of the Nebraska Farm Bureau, were all members of the Nebraska delegation. They conferred with the heads of several organizations, such as the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the United States Embassy in Japan, among others.

According to a tweet posted on the official account of the governor, the governor and a delegation met with the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry on Thursday to explain the benefits of Nebraska ethanol and to seek prospects for partnership.

The Governor of Nebraska, along with other industry experts, including Jan tenBensel, Chairman of the Nebraska Ethanol Board, met with officials from Japan to discuss the potential benefits that Nebraska ethanol could bring to Japan in meeting its goals of providing cheaper and cleaner fuel for automobiles and airplanes.

Throughout the course of the week, the group expressed gratitude to the numerous businesses that had invested in Nebraska and discussed potential avenues for expansion. Companies involved include Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, which has made an investment in Monolith Materials. Monolith Materials is a factory located in Lincoln that focuses on producing emissions-free hydrogen on a commercial scale. Others included Nippon Steel, which launched Captain Beef, a premium beef brand sourced from Nebraska packers; Toho Cinemas, a theater chain that serves Preferred Popcorn from Chapman; and Prima Ham, a food manufacturer that buys pork from Wholestone Farms in Fremont. All of these companies are based in Japan.

Ricketts was presented with the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star Award from the Japanese government on November 9th, during the earlier portion of his journey to Japan, at the Imperial Palace, in recognition of his efforts to improve the relationship between Nebraska and Japan.

Exports have reached an all-time high.

Ricketts stated that there has been a long-standing friendship between Nebraska and Japan. “During my time serving as governor, I was very appreciative of the warmth, courtesy, and partnership shown by Japanese officials.” By cooperating with one another, we have been able to strengthen our connection through the exchange of goods as well as cultural experiences.

At the moment, Japan is the most significant foreign investor in Nebraska; the country’s dozens of businesses are responsible for the maintenance of approximately 6,500 jobs in the state.

The previous year was an all-time record for Nebraska’s exports of goods and services to Japan, which totaled over $1.4 billion and included beef worth $457 million. In the year 2021, Japan was also Nebraska’s most important customer for the purchase of pork and eggs.

Following the approval of new beef tariff trigger levels, Nebraska became the first U.S. state to travel to Japan. Because of the revised thresholds, it will be less likely that beef exports would reach levels that trigger higher tariffs. This will give the state with additional chance to meet Japan’s growing demand for high-quality beef, which is expected to continue expanding.

Ricketts was making his fourth trip to Japan for a business trip, with the other ones taking place in 2015, 2017, and 2019.

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