If you enjoyed a hot cup of coffee this morning, filled your car with ethanol or sought out a juicy steak or pork chop at the grocery store, then international trade has impacted your life.
Trade has become a hot button topic in recent months, yet the average county resident may not realize how this issue impacts their daily life.
To bring the topic into focus the Lexington Council for Economic Development (CED) is sponsoring an International Trade Town Hall at 7 p.m. on June 14 at the Lexington Holiday Inn Express convention center. Dawson County and area residents from all walks of life are encouraged to attend.
Panelists with extensive trade experience will share their stories and join in a question and answer session that evening to spotlight what international trade means to all area residents.
Among those scheduled to appear are John McCoy, president of Orthman Manufacturing at Lexington; Craig Uden of Johnson Lake, immediate past president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association; Scott McPheeters of Gothenburg, a member of the Nebraska Ethanol Board and KAAPA Cooperative Board; Paul Mussman of Holdrege, president of Ag West Commodities; and Don Hutchens of Johnson Lake, retired executive director of the Nebraska Corn Board.
The CED, along with assistance from local farm and commodity groups, is planning to launch a petition drive at the meeting to encourage the U.S. government to pursue legislation, policies, executive actions and regulations to foster greater access to foreign markets.
According to the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, Dawson County ranks seventh among all Nebraska counties for exports to Mexico and Canada. In addition, 45 percent of Nebraska exports are sent to Mexico and Canada.
Statistics from the Nebraska Farm Bureau show exports add several thousand dollars each year to all county household incomes. Local officials note future opportunities for youth to live and work in Dawson County are highly dependent on international trade.
Beef and corn are the two biggest export commodities in the county with pork and soybeans close behind. Export trades add an estimated $300 to the value of each beef animal and $50 to each pork animal produced in the United States.
Over 50 percent of Nebraska’s soybeans, that’s six out of every 12 rows planted, are exported with China, Indonesia and Taiwan the three biggest customers.
Finally farm equipment manufactured in Dawson and surrounding counties is exported all around the world.
To learn more on how trade impacts daily life in Dawson County, be sure to attend the town hall on June 14.