- Associated Press - Friday, June 12, 2015

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - A Nebraska delegation led by Gov. Pete Ricketts is discussing farm issues and trade in meetings with European government officials and agriculture groups, the governor said Friday.

Members of the governor’s European trade mission said the talks have included issues such as genetically modified crops and European perceptions about American farming.

They also addressed the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, a proposed free-trade agreement between Europe and the United States, Ricketts said in a conference call from Europe.

“This type of dialogue goes a long way toward sound policy development,” he said.

The trade team has met with the EU’s commissioner for agriculture and rural development and the chief of staff for the EU commissioner of health and food safety. The group also met with leadership of Copa and Cogeca, which are organizations representing EU farmers and farm cooperatives.

Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson said the delegation sought to dispel European perceptions that few U.S. farms are family owned. Nelson said more than 90 percent of Nebraska farms are family owned.

“That’s a message that we believe is important,” he said.

Ricketts said the group spoke about Europe’s market barriers for GMO crops, which are critically important to Nebraska.

The delegation is visiting Italy, Belgium and Denmark as part of the governor’s first overseas trade mission.

Nebraska exported roughly $900 million worth of goods to European Union countries in 2014, with agricultural goods accounting for about half of the total.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

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