International trade and foreign markets are critical to Nebraska agriculture. To get a sense of which Nebraska counties are most reliant on international trade, the Nebraska Department of Agriculture has created a map showing export values by county for select commodities (see below). Commodities included are beef and beef products, corn, dairy products, distillers grains, ethanol, pork and pork products, pulses, sorghum, soybeans and soybean products and wheat. The map was created using 2015 Nebraska cash receipts data and attributing shares to counties based on county production data. Platte County topped the state with export values of $245 million. Custer, Holt, Boone and Cuming Counties fall in the next tier with export values between $125-$150 million. Most counties in Nebraska generate at least $25 million in export values, which no doubt contributes significantly to their local economies.
The top counties stand to gain the most from increased access to foreign markets. Free trade agreements with Mexico, Canada, Korea, Colombia and others, while benefitting all counties, have been particularly beneficial to these counties. An analysis last year of the benefits of the TransPacific Partnership (TPP) by Nebraska Farm Bureau showed many of these same counties would have benefited from the $378 million in increased receipts Nebraska was projected to receive under the agreement. The map clearly demonstrates it is in the interest of Nebraska agriculture to continue to press for more open international markets in agricultural products.
Jay Rempe is the senior economist for Nebraska Farm Bureau. Rempe’s background in agricultural economics, years of experience in advocating at the state capitol, and firm grasp of issues allow him to quantify the fiscal impact of a regulatory proposal, and provide in-depth examination of key issues affecting Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers.
6 cups fresh green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces (use canned green beans if you must)
4 ½ teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
½ cup finely minced onion
8-ounces white mushrooms, finely chopped
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
1 cup low-fat milk
2 cups (8 oz.) sharp cheddar cheese, shredded and divided
3 tablespoons dry bread crumbs
½ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon onion powder
Preheat oven to 425º. Coat a 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray.
Meanwhile, in a large saucepan cook the fresh beans until crisp tender (about 4 minutes) or cook by steaming if possible. Drain off all liquid.
Heat 4 teaspoons oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until just starting to brown, 2-3 minutes. Add mushrooms, thyme, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally until the mushrooms have released their juices and the liquid has evaporated.
Sprinkle flour over the mushroom mixture and stir to coat. Add broth and milk and bring to a simmer stirring oftn until the sauce is thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in 1 ½ cups shredded cheese. Add the green beans and stir to combine.
Transfer the mixture to the prepared casserole dish. Top with the remaining ½ cup shredded cheese.
In a small bowl, stir together the bread crumbs and the remaining ½ teaspoon oil. Add paprika and onion powder and stir until the breadcrumbs are evenly moist and bright orange. Sprinkle over the casserole.
Bake the casserole for 20-25 minutes until bubbling and golden brown on top. Allow to cool slightly before serving.