June 30, 2011

Corn mission to promote U.S. beef, pork in Japan, meet some impacted by tsunami

The Nebraska Corn Board said in a news release yesterday that it is sponsoring a team to travel to Japan with the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) July 5-12 to promote Nebraska corn-fed beef and pork and to see first hand how Nebraska farmers, through their grain donation program, are supporting Red Cross efforts to help those impacted by the earthquake and tsunami in the region.

Curt Tomasevicz is going on the mission to Japan.
Several Nebraskan's will be on the mission, including Nebraska Corn Board spokesman and Olympic gold medalist Curt Tomasevicz. He'll be along to help promote U.S. corn-fed beef and pork as part of a balanced diet.

"Curt’s role makes this USMEF mission different than those we’ve supported in the past," said Kelsey Pope, ag promotion coordinator with the Nebraska Corn Board, who is also going on the mission. "His status as a top-performing athlete will be exciting to those we meet with, including the kids sports teams we will be visiting. He will talk about eating U.S. red meat as part of a healthy, balanced, athletic diet."

While in Japan, the group will make a side trip to the Tohoku area where they will meet with earthquake and tsunami evacuees, distribute free meals that include U.S. beef and meet with local media.

Others going on the mission include John Willoughby, president of the Buffalo/Hall County Corn Growers Association and member of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association, and Bill Schuster, chairman of the Aurora Cooperative board of directors. Willoughby and Schuster were instrumental in launching the grain donation program with the Nebraska Corn Growers and KRVN to support tsunami relief efforts in Japan and the Pacific.

The relief effort began in April after Japan experienced the devastating earthquake and tsunami. As part of the effort, Nebraska farmers donate bushels of corn or any grain at Aurora Cooperative or Cooperative Producers, Inc., locations. The grain is sold and proceeds go to the Red Cross.

Donations continue to be accepted through July 30.

“Even though this mission to Japan with USMEF began as a Nebraska corn-fed meat promotion, it was a natural fit to include representatives from the Nebraska Corn Growers Association and Aurora Cooperative. It will give them an opportunity to deliver meals to those displaced by the tsunami and see how the grain donation relief program is supporting people in Japan,” said Don Hutchens, executive director of the Nebraska Corn Board.

We're hoping to include mission updates here throughout the mission — so check back!

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