Buoyed by an Emerging Markets Program grant from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) is sending representatives to Europe to promote Nebraska’s agricultural exports. The trip, Oct. 9-16, includes stops in Bulgaria and Germany.
“The grant funds allow us to open up new opportunities for the emerging market in Bulgaria, while at the same time allowing us to utilize our NDA promotional funds to cultivate our relationships in the broader European market,” said NDA Director Greg Ibach. “With the current low commodity prices, increasing ag exports is a priority for Nebraska.”
The $70,000 grant award will be used for the trip and several other projects in Bulgaria scheduled to take place through July 2016. This is the first time Nebraska has received a USDA Emerging Markets Program grant.
“While our main focus in Bulgaria will be promoting soybeans and soy meal, we also have a great opportunity to promote other Nebraska commodities,” Ibach said. “Bulgaria represents a stepping stone to sell our agricultural products in several Eastern European emerging markets.”
During the Bulgaria stop, Ibach and an NDA staff member will meet with some of the top ranking officials in the Bulgarian Parliament, including the Bulgarian president’s chief of staff and agricultural advisor.
While in Germany, the Nebraska contingent will include Pat Knobbe, who is a cattle feeder from Cuming County and a representative of the Nebraska Beef Council. The group will attend Anuga, one of the largest food trade shows in the world. The event is being held in Cologne and attracts over 7,000 exhibitors from 108 countries.
Ibach will make appearances at several well-known American food company booths to assist in promoting Nebraska agricultural products. The Nebraska group also will conduct promotional outreach with Albers Food, one of Europe’s top beef distributors. Knobbe will participate in a special Albers marketing campaign, as well as give a presentation at an Albers’ hosted promotional event.
“Albers is a great customer of beef from Nebraska,” said Knobbe. “Being part of the marketing campaign to promote our products to European consumers is an unbelievable opportunity. I’m also excited to be able to tell the story of how we raise our premium-quality beef from Nebraska to Albers representatives.”
Nebraska’s agricultural exports to Europe in 2014 were roughly $506 million. The state’s exports to Bulgaria in recent years have been minimal.
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