NEFB sees Middle East trade mission as an opportunity to grow Nebraska economy


NEFB sees Middle East trade mission as an opportunity to grow Nebraska economy

The head of the Nebraska Farm Bureau says trade agreements with countries in the Middle East could create new markets for the state’s ag products.

Mark McHargue says a recent trade mission to the United Arab Emirates and Jordan focused on sustainability, technology and food security. “Probing for opportunities to have relationships with different universities over there and with the University of Nebraska. We do some things very well in Nebraska including our beef production and our stable corn and our soybean production.”

He tells Brownfield the U.S. shouldn’t solely depend on China for trade and wants to create new markets. 

McHargue says one example is Jordan where water resources are scarce, and 90 percent of the country’s food is imported. “We have a free trade agreement with Jordan, but they really trade from that part of the world out to the surrounding countries.  So, it really is an important place in the world that we need to develop and foster good relationships.”

And, he says Nebraska has abundant food and water resources.

“We shouldn’t take that for granted so I’m taking that message home to encourage or producers to think on a global scale. But, that also goes the other way,” he says. “In the geopolitical environment that we find ourselves in, it’s really important that we have trade relationships with a very broad plethora of countries.”

Governor Pete Ricketts recently announced a trade mission to Ireland in August.