Trade mission seeks to restore Nebraska dry bean exports


LINCOLN, Neb. (Nebraska Examiner) – Nebraska dry bean growers are hoping to restore trade with the European Union now that a retaliatory Trump-era tariff on agricultural products has been dropped.

A week-long trade mission to Bulgaria has just ended. The leader of the trip, Nebraska Secretary of State Bob Evnen, said he is confident that trade in dried beans with European nations will be restored.

Nebraska produces about 1 billion servings of dried beans a year and had shipped $3.2 million worth of beans to the European Union in 2019 before those shipments ended due to a 25% tariff on agricultural products. This tariff was imposed by the EU in retaliation for tariffs on European aircraft and agricultural products established by President Donald Trump.

Biden seeks to quell trade wars

The Biden administration resolved that dispute last year, bringing about the end of the dry bean tariff — a tariff that had made Nebraska dry beans uncompetitive.

Lynn Reuter, executive director of the Scottsbluff-based Nebraska Dry Bean Commission, said Tuesday that Bulgaria, in particular, is a big consumer of Great White Northern beans produced in southwestern Nebraska and the Panhandle.

“You can’t turn down any deal like it is in the global market right now. You have to constantly look for new markets,” she said of the trade mission.

Evnen, in a press release, said importers and processors the Nebraska trade group met with in Bulgaria expressed “immediate readiness” to establish the state’s dry bean trade.

Beans have a $151 million impact

Nebraska’s irrigation and center-pivot beef industries were also represented on the trade mission, which was largely funded by the USDA’s “emerging markets” program, according to the secretary of state’s office.

Dried beans have a $151 million economic impact in the 20 county region of Nebraska where they grow, Reuters said. The state is the number one producer of Great Northern beans in the United States and the number two producer of pinto and light red beans. she says.

Overall, Nebraska is the fourth largest dry bean producer in the country.

Nebraska Examiner is part of States Newsroom, a network of news outlets supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Nebraska Examiner maintains editorial independence. Contact editor Cate Folsom with questions: [email protected] Follow the Nebraska Examiner on Facebook and Twitter.

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