DAVID CITY – Governor Pete Ricketts and the visiting Consul General of Japan in Chicago, Naoki Ito, toured the Henningsen Foods plant in David City, Nebraska. The visit occurred on the heels of a newly-announced strategic partnership agreement between Henningsen’s Tokyo-based parent Kewpie Corporation and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL).
“Henningsen Foods and Kewpie have shared a tremendous relationship with Nebraska for over 50 years,” said Governor Ricketts. “During my recent trade mission to Japan, I met with the company’s leadership to thank them for their investments in our state and to discuss new opportunities for collaboration. Those discussions led to today’s announcement. This new partnership between Kewpie and the University of Nebraska leverages our world-class resources at Nebraska Innovation Campus and strengthens the special relationship between Nebraska and Japan, which support thousands of jobs in our communities.”
“It has been a privilege to tour Henningsen’s facilities in David City, and yet another opportunity to acknowledge the deep friendship and economic ties shared between Nebraska and Japan,” Consul General Ito said. “Nebraska and Japanese trade and business partnerships continue to grow stronger every year, and they are a source of economic strength for all parties involved.”
A global producer of egg, meat, and poultry products, Henningsen Foods operates three locations across Nebraska. Governor Ricketts and a delegation of State and university officials met with senior leaders from parent company Kewpie last year, during the Governor’s second trade mission to Japan. Following that meeting, the Governor’s Office helped connect Kewpie with UNL. Shortly thereafter, representatives from UNL and the Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED) returned to Tokyo, at which time UNL and Kewpie formalized a recently-announced strategic partnership agreement. The agreement will see Kewpie conduct North American market research and development efforts out of UNL’s Nebraska Innovation Campus, in Lincoln.
“This is a perfect example of the economic development opportunities created in Nebraska that result from collaboration and partnership between the university, state government and the private sector through global engagement,” said Mike Boehm, UNL Vice Chancellor Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
Nebraska and Japan continue to grow important trade and investment relationships. Today, Japan is the fourth-largest global importer of Nebraska products, and the state’s largest source of foreign direct investment, having invested more than $4.4 billion since 2010. Today, approximately 35 Japanese-owned companies employ around 9,400 Nebraskans.
Aside from strengthening Nebraska-Japan ties, the UNL-Kewpie agreement will also help to foster enhanced research and academic collaboration between the University of Nebraska and Japan.
This July, Governor Ricketts is slated to host an official delegation from Japan’s Hyogo Prefecture, including Prefecture Governor Toshizo Ido, to discuss additional opportunities for growing Nebraska-Japanese trade and investment relationships.
In September, Nebraska will host the 50th annual conference of the Midwest U.S.-Japan Association. More information can be found at http://www.midwest-japan.org/schedule/.