WASHINGTON – This morning, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a new agreement with Israel to lift the ban on U.S. beef imports for the first time since 2003. Shipments will come from Nebraska’s WR Reserve plant in Hastings. U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) released the following statement regarding the announcement:

“Nebraska beef producers are the best in the world. This historic agreement with Israel is a testament to our producers’ tireless commitment to delivering safe, high-quality beef products to dinner tables around the globe. I was pleased to work with the USDA and the Israeli government to enable our state to supply the first American beef shipments to Israel in over a decade.”

U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro released the following statement:

“Resuming U.S. beef exports to Israel has been a high priority for me since I arrived to Israel.  Today marks a significant milestone in U.S.-Israel trade relations and is an outstanding example of the power of the U.S. government working collaboratively with the private sector to achieve our foreign economic policy objectives.  This agreement gives Israeli consumers access to the world’s highest quality beef.  At the same time, it creates and supports jobs in the great state of Nebraska.  Later this year, we hope to serve U.S.D.A. - certified beef at our July 4th celebrations, for the first time in nearly 13 years.”

Barb Cooksley, president of the Nebraska Cattlemen’s Association, released the following statement:

“We are pleased the first kosher beef from the U.S. to return to the Israel market since 2003 will be from Nebraska. Nebraska Cattlemen appreciates Senator Fischer’s work to help get the market reopened. This is another example demonstrating she understands how important trade is to ranchers, feeders, processors, and all Nebraskans.”

Since December 2003, Israel has banned beef imports from the United States due to a confirmed case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). 

During a visit by Senator Fischer to Israel last fall, U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro asked her to work with the USDA to bring Nebraska beef to Israel. The ambassador was especially interested in serving Nebraska beef at the embassy’s Fourth of July celebration. Subsequently, Senator Fischer reached out to the USDA and joined officials from the Nebraska Department of Agriculture in a concerted effort for Nebraska to lead the charge and lift the ban on U.S. beef imports. This agreement opens new markets to Nebraska producers, businesses, and the communities who rely on them for economic progress.

According to the USDA, in 2014, Israel imported beef products worth $405 million. Ninety-five percent of these imports originated in Latin America.

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