Ricketts Says UK Trade Mission Focused on Agriculture and Insurance | Regional government

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Governor Pete Ricketts said on Wednesday that the trade mission underway this week to the UK is focused on increasing growth opportunities in Nebraska’s agricultural and insurance sector.

“Insurance and agriculture, focus on what we do best,” the governor said on a conference call from London with Nebraska media.

The trade mission delegation, which Ricketts says is made up of 48 or 49 participants, will travel to Ireland on Thursday for a series of contacts before attending the Nebraska-Northwestern soccer match in Dublin on Saturday.

Ricketts stressed “the importance of developing relationships” in Nebraska’s quest to increase business opportunities.

“We want to tell the story of Nebraska,” he said.

Central City’s Mark McHargue, president of the Nebraska Farm Bureau, said “it’s important for consumers to understand that we value the environment” when Nebraska agriculture tries to expand its reach into overseas markets.

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Ethanol has “a very powerful story to tell” in terms of reducing the global carbon footprint, he said, and Nebraska beef has already enjoyed substantial success in overseas markets.

Malcolm Smith, vice president of state government relations at Aflac, noted that Nebraska is already an established leader in the insurance industry.

Smith joined the trade delegation, suggesting the mission is “all about relationships and (developing) potential partners in Nebraska.”

Ricketts said the trip focused on “opportunities to open up trade (and) facilitate trade (while) sharing Nebraska’s history.”

Responding to a question about the failure of a medical marijuana initiative to gain entry to the Nebraska general election ballot, the governor said “this is a big industry that wants to be unregulated.”

Marijuana use can have “a huge impact on brain health and cognitive abilities in young people,” Ricketts said. “I think it will be an ongoing conversation.”

The proposed initiative, which would have legalized the use of cannabis for medical purposes, failed to secure enough valid signatures on initiative petitions submitted to the Secretary of State.

Asked to predict the outcome of Saturday’s football game, Ricketts said he saw Nebraska seeded as the 12-point favorite “and that sounds good.”

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