CHICAGO, Feb 13 (Reuters) - Nebraska topped all other U.S. states for beef exports in 2017 for a second year in a row, its governor said on Tuesday in a statement that cited the state’s abundance of feed grain, packing capacity and cattle feeding operations.
Last year Nebraska exported $1.26 billion worth of beef, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Global Agricultural Trade System (GATS).
It showed Nebraska’s pork export markets took in $479 million worth of product in 2017, a 20 percent increase from the previous year to become the fifth largest U.S. pork exporting state.
“This impressive growth in Nebraska’s beef and pork exports shows how effective international trade is to growing our state,” said Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts the statement.
Jim Robb, director of the Colorado-based Livestock Marketing Information Center, in part, attributed Nebraska’s top beef export ranking to it being the home of some of the nation’s largest packing plants. It is also in the western Corn Belt and feedlots are located throughout the state, Robb added.
With respect to hog farms, USDA’s most recent quarterly hog report listed Nebraska as the fifth largest hog producing state, well behind industry leader Iowa where the hog population is highest.
Robb said these data underscore how crucial the ongoing North American Free Trade Agreement discussions are for the major agricultural states. (Reporting By Theopolis Waters; Editing by David Gregorio)