Ricketts says the UK’s commercial work is concentrated in agriculture, insurance

Gov. Pete Ricketts said on Wednesday that the business activity that is happening this week in the United Kingdom has been focused on increasing opportunities for the growth of agriculture and insurance in Nebraska.

“Insurance and agriculture, look at what we do best,” the governor said at a London conference with Nebraska media.

The trade delegation, which Ricketts said consists of 48 or 49 people, will travel to Ireland on Thursday to meet with several people before attending the Nebraska-Northwestern football game in Dublin on Saturday.

Ricketts spoke of the “need to build relationships” in Nebraska’s quest to expand business opportunities.

“We want to tell the story of Nebraska,” he said.

Mark McHargue of Central City, president of the Nebraska Farm Bureau, said “it’s important for consumers to understand that we value the environment” as Nebraska agriculture tries to expand into foreign markets.

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Ethanol has “a very strong story to tell” when it comes to reducing global emissions, he said, and Nebraska beef has already done well in foreign markets.

Malcolm Smith, Aflac’s vice president of government relations, said Nebraska is a consistent leader in the insurance industry.

Smith joined the business community, noting that the project is “about relationships and (creating) potential partners in Nebraska.”

Ricketts said the tour focuses on “opportunities to open businesses (and) support businesses (while) sharing the Nebraska story.”

In response to a question about the failure of medical marijuana to get on the Nebraska ballot, the governor said “this is about big business that wants to be unregulated.”

Marijuana use “can have negative effects on young people’s brain health and cognitive abilities,” Ricketts said. “I think it’s going to be an ongoing conversation.”

The proposal, which would have approved the use of cannabis for medical purposes, did not get enough signatures on petitions submitted to the secretary of state.

Asked to comment on Saturday’s football results, Ricketts said he saw Nebraska ranked as the No. 12 favorite “and that sounds good.”

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