Today, Governor Pete Ricketts, the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA), and the Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED) announced plans to lead a trade mission to Vietnam and Japan this September.

“Vietnam is one of the fastest growing economies in the world,” said Governor Ricketts.  “With nearly 100 million people and a growing middle class, Vietnam represents a tremendous opportunity to increase our state’s agricultural exports.  We also look forward to returning to Japan to grow trade with one of our longest-standing and most critical international partners.”

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Ag Services, agricultural export totals from the United States to Vietnam grew 57.8% from approximately $2.5 billion in 2017 to $4 billion in 2018.  In 2017, Nebraska’s total agricultural exports to Vietnam were $38.4 million.  Beef exports alone, from Nebraska to Vietnam, went from $5.4 million in 2017 to $12.3 million in 2018, a growth of 127%.

NDA Director Steve Wellman and staff were in Vietnam in August 2018 to promote Nebraska agriculture and introduce potential buyers and distributors to Nebraska beef.  Wellman stressed the importance to Nebraska of increasing agricultural trade opportunities in Vietnam.

“The key to export success is building on existing relationships and creating new opportunities in international marketplaces, and there’s a lot of room for growth in ag exports to Vietnam, particularly in beef, pork, corn, soybeans and distillers grains,” said Director Wellman.  “Farmers and ranchers are the best people to tell the story of Nebraska agriculture and to show consumers and agribusiness leaders the quality ag products that Nebraska has to offer.  I encourage Nebraska agriculture representatives to consider joining us on this upcoming trade mission.”

The itinerary for the upcoming trade mission was developed in cooperation with the Governor’s Office, NDA, DED, Vietnamese officials and the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi.  U.S. Ambassador Daniel Kritenbrink is a native of Ashland, Nebraska, and a graduate of the University of Nebraska in Kearney.  The delegation is expected to meet with Vietnamese government officials responsible for trade decisions, agricultural officials and industry leaders currently using Nebraska products.

“Trade continues to be a top priority and an essential part of growing Nebraska,” said DED Director Dave Rippe.  “This trade mission to Vietnam and Japan will allow us to generate momentum and forge new partnerships abroad.  The resulting opportunities will have a positive impact on our communities and families here at home.”

The trip is scheduled for Sept. 3rd-10th to Hanoi, Vietnam and Tokyo, Japan.  Since space is limited, people interested in participating in the trade mission should email Angel Velitchkov, Counsel for International Trade, at to ask questions and/or register.

Governor Ricketts has led trade missions to many countries including members of the European Union, Japan, China and Mexico to encourage the growth of Nebraska agriculture.  The Governor’s Council for International Relations named Vietnam as one of several targeted countries that Nebraska should focus on to increase exports and identify new business opportunities.