Nebraska has exported more beef to China this year than the rest of the country combined.

According to data recently released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Nebraska’s beef exports to China were $8.7 million as of Oct. 31, 50.5 percent of the U.S. total of $17.2 million.

Gov. Pete Ricketts credited the work he and other state officials did to help lay groundwork to get China to reopen its beef market this June for the first time since 2003.

"When China agreed for the first time since 2003 to open its beef market to the United States, Nebraska was ready and shipped the first beef to China within days of the announcement,” Ricketts said in a news release.

In September, Nebraska had a similar opportunity to maintain and build trade relations with Japan, Ricketts said. Nebraska’s beef exports to Japan are up 18 percent from 2016 over the same time period and are on track for their best year since Japan reopened its markets to U.S. beef.