Tag Archives: Nebraska

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.

CURTIS, Neb. — The Grunden Ranch near rural Curtis has about 325 cows. That’s their main business, but they have made a name for themselves with Morgan horses.

Harlan Grunden called it a “hobby that’s gotten out of hand,” and apparently the American Morgan Horse Association is impressed. The AMHA inducted the ranch into the 2017 AMHA Breeder’s Hall of Fame earlier this year.

According to a release from the organization, in 1969 Harvey and Myrna Grunden wanted a hobby they could share with their children. They researched different breeds, and were drawn to Morgans because of the breeds’ easy riding and a gentle disposition. The Grundens made their first purchase and never looked back.

Two generations later, Grunden Ranch is making its mark in the show ring and their progeny is found in at least 29 states, including Vermont, where the breed was developed in the 1800s, The North Platte Telegraph reported. The ranch has had seven generations of the same Morgan bloodline, said Harlan, a son of Harvey and Myrna, who carries on the tradition at the ranch near Curtis.

The Grunden Ranch also helped spread the breed abroad with Harvey and Myrna introducing the first Morgan horse to Germany in 1979: a stallion named Funquest Meddler.

Harvey is now in a retirement home and Myrna has passed away, but the passion for the Morgan horse continues through their three children, their grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Upon their retirement, they divided the herd between their two sons. Harlan and his wife, Tammy, acquired the Grunden Ranch identity, while Harris and his wife, Joanie, acquired the RG identity. Their daughter, Gina Essink, and her husband, Dennis, raise Morgan horses under the RC prefix.

Harlan and Tammy operate their Grunden Ranch with their son Hance. Their daughter, Megan Welch, of Moorefield (married to Dawson Welch), is involved in the operation, too. Harlan is vice president of the AMHA and does quite of bit of traveling across the country in that role, he said.

They currently have 77 registered Morgans, including six stallions for breeding and six geldings. Their mares gave birth to 16 foals this year. Some of the mares and geldings are used to work cattle.

“We have been known to use our horses moving cattle the day before going to a show,” says their web site. They have exhibited in Western, English, pleasure driving and carriage classes and participated in shows in Salina, Kansas; Des Moines, Iowa; and Loveland, Colorado. Horses from the Grunden Ranch have placed in the top in the Morgan Grand National in Oklahoma City, shown both by the Grundens and their customers.

Prize stallions, such as GRM Monarchs Go Figure are sought after. Harlan said they recently have had customers bring mares from Ohio, Missouri, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania to breed with Grunden’s stallions at Medicine Valley veterinary clinic in Curtis. They also sell semen and send it out by next day air. Unfrozen semen must be used within 36 hours, said Harlan. Breeding requires careful timing by veterinarians using ultrasound equipment to identify ovulation in the receptive mares.

The Grundens host a buggy drive/trail ride annually on the last Sunday in September.

“This is a good opportunity to enjoy the scenery and have a good visit with friends. We love to show our horses to visitors who are always welcome to stop in for a visit,” he said.

The weather was mild on Monday at the Grunden Ranch, where stallions and mares and foals, are well accustomed to natural conditions on the hills. Harlan hitched a gelding to a marathon undercut carriage, a small, lightweight carriage designed to make very tight turns and be easy to maneuver, as it rode down the long, gravel driveway.

Yes, Morgans are gentle, beautiful animals.

Founded in 1909, the American Morgan Horse Association is a nonprofit organization serving more than 50,000 Morgan horse owners, breeders, exhibitors and enthusiasts throughout the United States. AMHA serves as a parent organization to more than 50 recognized Morgan horse clubs and national organizations.

International trade, direct investment, and partnerships are key to growing Nebraska.  From providing markets for our quality ag commodities to creating jobs in communities across our state, international partnerships are building great opportunities every day.  Over the years, Japan has become a key trading partner for Nebraska.  Japan is our largest direct international investor and one of our largest export markets.  To build on these successes, I have led two trade missions to Japan aimed at expanding exports, recruiting new investments, and identifying new partnerships.

Trade missions have been key to successfully expanding our exports of agricultural goods to Japan.  Japan is Nebraska’s largest export market for beef, pork, and eggs and, overall, it is our third largest ag export market.  From 2016 to 2017, Nebraska saw a 26 percent increase in our beef exports to Japan and a 46 percent increase in pork exports.  During our trade mission to Japan in 2017, the Sagami Restaurant Chain in Tokyo signed an agreement with Smithfield to use Nebraska pork in their restaurants.  Thanks to the efforts of many Nebraskans over the years, deals like these continue to create new opportunities for our farm and ranch families.

Since Kawasaki opened their first manufacturing line in Lincoln in 1974, investments from Japanese companies have been creating great job opportunities in Nebraska.  In fact, since 2010, Japanese companies have invested $4.4 billion in our state.  About 35 Japanese-owned companies employ 9,400 Nebraskans in communities throughout the state including David City, Lincoln, Norfolk, Omaha, and Ogallala among others.  From Yasufuku, which manufactures rubber parts, to Gavilon, a commodities management and trading firm, the companies from Japan investing in Nebraska are very diverse and they continue to invest in our state.  In 2017, Kawasaki expanded their commitment to Nebraska and opened their first North American aerospace division in Lincoln.  This investment followed a visit to their office during our trade mission to Japan in 2015.

This week, Governor Toshizo Ido of Hyogo Prefecture will be visiting Nebraska.  Hyogo Prefecture is home to the city of Kobe, where Kawasaki is headquartered in Japan.  A prefecture is a form of government similar to a state in America.  Like Nebraska, Hyogo has agriculture and manufacturing as two of its top industries.  During Governor Ido’s visit, we plan to host a seminar on investing in Nebraska with the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce and to work on strengthening ties between Nebraska and Hyogo.

In September, Nebraska will have another opportunity to further strengthen our relationship with Japan.  Our state has the great honor of hosting the 50th annual Midwest U.S.-Japan Association Conference.  Governors, business executives, and hundreds of people from both Japan and the United States will converge on Omaha for a three-day conference focused on growing trade and job opportunities between our two countries.  This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to highlight Nebraska as a great place to do business and invest for major companies.  If you are interested in learning more about the upcoming conference, please visit www.midwest-japan.org for more information.

The Nebraska-Japan relationship is just one example of how important international trade and partnerships are to growing our economy and job opportunities.  If you would like to share how trade is helping grow your community, I hope you will take the time to write me at pete.ricketts@nebraska.gov or call 402-471-2244.  We look forward to hearing your stories.

GILTNER, NE – Flex fuel vehicle drivers can save 85 cents per gallon on E85 at Cooperative Producers Inc. in Giltner (23 Railroad St.) from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, July 24. Consumers will be limited to 30 gallons and no containers are allowed.

Complimentary hot dogs and soft drinks will be available to customers throughout the promotion. Nebraska Ethanol Board, Nebraska Corn Board and local corn growers will be on site greeting drivers, pumping fuel, and providing giveaways.

“When we choose renewable biofuels at the pump, we save money and support a homegrown fuel,” said Megan Grimes, Nebraska Ethanol Board program manager. “Nebraska-produced biofuels are cost-effective, American-made, renewable, and better for our environment.”

One in seven Nebraskans are driving a flex fuel vehicle, which can run on any blend of American Ethanol up to E85 (85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline). Drivers can check their owner’s manual to see if they’re driving a flex fuel vehicle. The vehicle might also have a flex fuel badge on the trunk or tailgate — or have a yellow gas cap.

American Ethanol is a clean-burning, non-toxic, renewable source of octane. Using homegrown, locally-produced ethanol reduces the levels of harmful chemicals in our fuel — and in the air we breathe.