July 25, 2014

Members of Nebraska farm groups tour Japan’s tsunami-hit region

A delegation of Nebraska farmers is home now after a trade mission over the past week to Japan.

Members of the group toured areas where the tsunami hit Japan in 2011, areas they supported with humanitarian relief.

Nebraska Corn Board chairman Tim Scheer of St. Paul says the devastation is still evident.

“It’s a work in progress, at its best,” Scheer says. “To actually see some of the devastated areas, it’s kind of hard to imagine what was there before because it’s pretty much wiped off now. You saw foundations of houses, foundations of buildings, but other than that, things are just gone.”

Scheer says Nebraska’s corn, hog and cattle producers were some of the first ag groups to donate money and food products to the tsunami victims. He says it was definitely worth the effort, especially with Japan being a top customer of U.S. pork, beef and corn.

Scheer says, “They were some of the first organizations in here, outside of the Red Cross and things like that, and it really lifted their spirits to know that people cared about them and to get the beef and the pork that was brought over to them.”

He says the mission helped put a face on the beef and pork that went into the tsunami-hit areas.

The Japanese earthquake and tsunami in March of 2011 claimed more than 15,000 lives and collapsed some 130,000 buildings. The economic cost was estimated at 235-billion U.S. dollars, making it the most expensive natural disaster in world history.

By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton