Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) Director Greg Ibach is leading a group of Nebraska agriculture leaders on a trade visit to South Korea March 31 – April 5.
“With the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement taking effect earlier this month, the timing was right for Nebraska to highlight our agricultural products and to lay the groundwork for future long-term trade cooperation,” said Ibach.
It is all part of a trade agreement that has them going across the world to help farmers locally.
Nebraska Farm Bureau's Steve Nelson said the objective of the trip is "to be learning about the opportunities that are here, to continue to grow and expand the use of Nebraska products."
The trip comes after the agreement, which became official last month. It dropped Korean tariffs on many products.
Nebraska ag producers said that is a big boost for them.
"A really great thing for agriculture, particularly opening the door for lower tarriffs on beef and pork as we move forward," Nelson said.
That's something that ag leaders hope to build on overseas to ensure a trading future.
It is a future that the U.S. International Trade Commission estimates is worth almost two billion dollars once the trade agreement is in full effect.
"So much of what happpens really in anything, but particularly in these kind of trade areas, has to do with building those relationships with people and this is a great opportunity to do that," Nebraska Department of Agriculture Director Steve Ibach said.
Joining the Director is Steve Nelson, representing the Nebraska Farm Bureau; Scott Spilker, representing the Nebraska Pork Producers; Steve Hanson, representing the Nebraska Beef Council; Brent Robertson, representing the Nebraska Wheat Board; and Stan Garbacz, the international trade representative for NDA.
During their time in South Korea, the group is meeting with meat and grain industry representatives, tour processing facilities and feed mills and participate in special events that will feature Nebraska beef and pork products.
“The Korean markets hold great potential for the Nebraska agriculture industry, especially for beef, pork and grains, all of which will see tariffs drop,” Ibach said. “We will be meeting with potential future customers during several activities and building relationships.”
The U.S. International Trade Commission estimated an increase in U.S. agricultural sales to Korea of $1.9 billion to $3.8 billion once the trade agreement is fully implemented. South Korea was Nebraska’s fifth largest trade partner in 2011, with imports of $331 million.