LINCOLN – Today, Governor Pete Ricketts and the Nebraska trade delegation returned from a trade mission to Canada which highlighted the positive relationships Nebraska has developed with its largest export partner.  The Governor and his team are enthusiastic about growing opportunities for farmers, ranchers, and manufacturers in the state.

“As Nebraska’s largest export market and fourth largest agriculture export market, Canada is our state’s best customer,” said Governor Ricketts.  “This trade mission allowed us to express our thanks to our best customer, and promote additional ways for companies looking to do business and help grow Nebraska.”

The trade delegation included officials from the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA), the Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED), and representatives from agricultural and economic development groups including Nebraska Farm Bureau, Nebraska Corn Growers, Nebraska Cattlemen Association and the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce.

“As Nebraska’s largest export market for ethanol and second largest for pork, Canada is a key market for growing agriculture,” said NDA Director Ibach.  “The meetings and events held throughout the trade mission allowed Nebraska’s ag producers to make the case firsthand for Nebraska’s quality commodities.”

During the trip, delegates traveled to Toronto and Ottawa where they participated in a U.S. Consulate briefing and met with the Ontario Ministry of International Trade as well as the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs.  Delegates also held a roundtable discussion with the U.S. Consul General for Toronto, as well as attended a reception and meal hosted by the Minister Counselor for Agricultural Affairs that featured Nebraska beef.

DED Director Courtney Dentlinger’s presentation, “Why Nebraska,” showcased the state’s central location, quality products, and dedicated workforce as ideal for Canadian companies looking to do business for the first time here or expand their current operations.

“Nebraska businesses have built strong relationships in Canada,” said Dentlinger. “We have significant investment from Canadian companies in our state.”

The Governor’s trade mission to Canada took place before the North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations begin at the federal level, giving the Nebraska delegation and its Canadian hosts the opportunity to talk about NAFTA while looking for ways to modernize and improve the agreement.