China welcomes U.S. beef back to market

Greg Ibach and Craig Uden celebrate the reintroduction of U.S. beef into China (Department of Agriculture)

Nebraska acts fast opening doors to what could be a huge market for beef.

We talked to State Ag Director Greg Ibach Friday, on the phone from China, where he was part of a delegation bringing U.S. beef to that country for the first time in nearly 15 years.

Ibach says state leaders have worked behind the scenes to make sure Nebraska was first in line, as they have done when other borders have opened.

“We were able to have the first beef be Nebraska beef that cleared customs in 2005 so that's always been a goal of ours, to be first in the marketplace to get our story out there quickly,” Ibach said. “Everybody considers U.S. beef to be the gold standard around the world, and we want to make sure to let them know in that category, Nebraska is the gold standard of us beef.”

Ibach says the Tyson plant in Lexington is one of the first two beef plants in all the country that is shipping to China.

He estimates China will quickly become the number two importer of Nebraska beef, around $200 million a year, and he says that's just the beginning.

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