NEBRASKA CITY – Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts cast positive light on foreign trade opportunities at a town hall meeting Thursday in Nebraska City.

Over 30 people gathered at the Valentino’s Restaurant meeting room where the governor and Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson stressed the importance of trade.

Ricketts said one of the things he is doing to maximize Nebraska’s trade opportunities is to travel and meet with foreign customers. He mentioned last month’s trip to Mexico.

Ricketts: “One of the things we do is we say thank you to our best customers. Mexico is our second biggest trading partner, and, let me tell you, they appreciate that. They said they had never had a U.S. politician come to Mexico to say thank you.”

He said it was made clear to him that Mexico wants to do business with America.

Ricketts:  “They’ve looked at sourcing wheat from Russian and soybeans from Brazil, but they prefer to do business with us. It just makes more sense. They like doing business with us.”

He said Nebraska has opportunities as Mexico grows its beef and pork industries because they will need Nebraska corn and soybeans to do that.

Nebraska recently hosted the Midwest-US Japan Association conference and Ricketts noted that  Japan is Nebraska’s fourth largest export market and the top export market for beef, pork and eggs.

Ricketts: “There’s a lot of things we can do to continue to make sure we promote Nebraska and not only sell more of our products within the United States, like branding Nebraska beef, but also overseas to get that investment back here in our state.”

Nelson told the audience that he would like to see Congress pass a farm bill on time.

He said there are several proposals in the farm bill to help promote trade, including a market facilitation program. He said it’s an effort by the Trump Administration to help farmers cope with negative results of tariffs.

He said changes are needed in regards to trade with China and there may be negative results in the market.