Today, Governor Pete Ricketts announced that the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) has signed letters of intent with nine soybean processing companies in Bulgaria to promote the use of Nebraska-grown soybeans and soybean products in their facilities.
“This is a great opportunity which is growing demand for Nebraska soybeans,” said Governor Ricketts. “Bulgaria is a country with a high demand for quality protein and is a relatively untapped market. Positioning Nebraska around the world as a top state for quality agricultural commodities will support our farmers and ranchers, increase our global market share, and continue to grow Nebraska’s number one industry.”
The nine companies who signed the letters of intent with NDA wish to maximize their output and are looking to source Nebraska and U.S. soybeans. The companies currently use about 2 million metric tons of soybeans per year and have a total production capacity of 2.7 million metric tons.
In 2017, executives and owners of the Bulgarian companies visited Nebraska to learn more about the cycle of soybean production in the state – planting, harvesting, processing and exporting to international markets. NDA used federal Emerging Markets Program grant funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to facilitate the visit and conduct a comprehensive market research study to promote the sale and use of soybeans and soybean products in the growing markets of Eastern Europe.
The Bulgarian company owners and executives visited a soybean farm in Geneva, the Aurora Cooperative, the grain storage and trading operations of Gavilon and Scoular in Omaha, a shipping container/loading facility in Council Bluffs and the ADM soybean processing facility and power plant in Lincoln. Nebraska Soybean Board members were on hand to introduce their organization and how they help support soybean producers and promote their vital product nationally and globally.
“Good personal relationships with the owners and executives of several soybean processing facilities in Bulgaria are a tremendous asset for the future,” said NDA Interim Director Mat Habrock. “We share similar appreciation for people, culture and agriculture.”
Bulgaria has been a member of the European Union since 2007. At $138 million out of a total export value of $1.9 billion, the EU was Nebraska’s third largest export market of soybeans and soybean products in 2015. (Source: USDA Foreign Ag Service)