LINCOLN – Today, Governor Pete Ricketts welcomed back a trade delegation led by Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) Director Steve Wellman. Wellman and NDA staff were in Vietnam August 6th-10th to promote Nebraska agriculture and to introduce potential buyers and distributors to quality Nebraska beef.
“Vietnam is one of the fastest growing economies in the world,” said Governor Ricketts. “My Council for International Relations released a plan recently which named Vietnam as one of several targeted countries that Nebraska should focus on to increase exports and identify new business opportunities. Director Wellman’s visit is a great step towards expanding Nebraska’s reach in this important market.”
“Quality Nebraska beef is known around the world for premium taste and value, and we want to continue to bolster the success of the state’s biggest industry by expanding opportunities in growing markets like Vietnam,” said NDA Director Wellman. “Nebraska beef exports increased by 12 percent from 2016 to 2017 for a total value of $1.26 billion, making Nebraska the nation’s largest beef exporting state for the second year in a row.”
While in Vietnam, Director Wellman met with several agribusiness leaders and hosted a forum designed to introduce potential buyers and distributors interested in beef from Nebraska. The forum was attended by U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel Kritenbrink. At the forum, Kritenbrink, a Nebraska native and a graduate of the University of Nebraska in Kearney, shared his memories of growing up on a farm near Ashland and emphasized the state’s leading role in agriculture.
Director Wellman also met with Thai Huong, the founder and chairwoman of TH Group, to discuss opportunities for trade in animal feed, particularly soybean meal. TH Group, a large holding company in Vietnam specializing in milk and dairy, runs the largest dairy farm in Vietnam.
During the trip, Director Wellman signed Letters of Intent with three Vietnamese companies interested in selling beef from Nebraska in Vietnam. The Bao Ngoc Company, the largest of the three, currently has a distribution network of more than 10,000 grocery stores and 500 restaurants. The other two businesses were D&A Vietnam JSC and Duc Anh Import Export.
The cost of the trip to Vietnam was covered under a Federal Emerging Markets Program grant.