A shipment of steaks was shipped out of Omaha, Neb., this week, on the way to China. The test shipment of 40 boxes of beef from Greater Omaha Packing Co. marked the first shipments of beef from the U.S. to China in 13 years.

“We want to know how the process works,” said Dan Jensen, vice president of sales and marketing for Greater Omaha, reports the Lincoln Journal-Star. "This will be the first of many shipments."

China closed its borders to American beef after an outbreak of BSE in the U.S. in 2003. Trade was allowed again after negotiations between Chinese and American contingents.

“China has the potential to be the largest market for U.S. beef,” said Henry Davis, CEO of the Omaha meat-packing facility, during a Wednesday news conference with Gov. Pete Ricketts.

Ricketts praised Greater Omaha Packing’s initiative in being first and said the shipment is the culmination of years of wooing Chinese distributors and government officials.

“This is a big deal,” Ricketts said. “Beef is our No. 1 industry here in this state. We’re the largest commercial red beef-producing state and the largest state for cattle on feed. And we’re the largest beef-exporting state.”

Source: Lincoln Journal-Star