Beef deal ben­e­fits Ne­braska corn crop

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - TOP NEWS - By AMY HE in Lin­coln, Ne­braska amyhe@chi­nadai­lyusa.com

As US beef ex­ports to China re­sume, Ne­braska, the No 1 ex­porter of beef and beef prod­ucts in the US, is op­ti­mistic that its big­gest crop ex­port — corn — also will ben­e­fit.

The state suf­fered a huge blow in 2014 when China banned ge­net­i­cally mod­i­fied corn from the United States. Be­fore that, the state was ship­ping mil­lions of met­ric tons of corn to the coun­try, but that dropped to be­tween 150,000 and 200,000 tons last year.

About 95 per­cent to 97 per­cent of corn pro­duced in Ne­braska is ge­net­i­cally mod­i­fied, but most of it con­sists of va­ri­eties that are now ap­proved in China and other mar­kets, said Kelly Brunk­horst, ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor at the Ne­braska Corn Board.

“When we talk about corn, we look at corn in all forms. It may be raw prod­uct corn or it may be the value-added beef in­dus­try,” Brunk­horst said.

“Ne­braska’s blessed with be­ing the No 1 cat­tle-on-feed state, and hav­ing that strong beef in­dus­try” is a “fan­tas­tic op­por­tu­nity to move corn as a value-added prod­uct into China, along with build­ing upon what that means for corn in raw form,” he said.

The first ship­ment of US beef to China left Omaha, Ne­braska, on June 14, on a flight to cus­tomers in Shang­hai. More than 6 mil­lion cat­tle in Ne­braska feed on corn and corn byprod­ucts. Cat­tle feed is com­posed of roughage, raw corn, corn sweet­ener byprod­uct, and ethanol byprod­uct, also known as dis­tillers grains.

Corn and beef work in tan­dem with each other, said Ne­braska Gover­nor Pete Rick­etts.

“One of the ben­e­fits we have here is what we call a ‘golden tri­an­gle’ be­tween the corn that we pro­duce, our ethanol plants — which cre­ate fuel, and in fact Ne­braska sup­plies about 1.5 per­cent of the over­all liq­uid fuel sup­ply for the United States — and a byprod­uct of that ethanol process, the dis­tillers grains that then go into feed­ing our cat­tle,” he told China Daily in an in­ter­view.

“That’s a great syn­er­gis­tic way we lever­age our corn and add value to our com­modi­ties we pro­duce here, to help cre­ate the best prod­ucts in the world,” he said.

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