If you enjoyed a hot cup of coffee this morning, filled your car with ethanol or sought out a juicy steak or pork chop, international trade has impacted your life.

According to the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, 45% of Nebraska exports are sent to Mexico and Canada. Dawson County ranks seventh among Nebraska counties for exports to Mexico and Canada.

Trade has become a hot button topic in recent months, with the threats of tariffs, yet the average county resident may not realize how this issue affects their life, organizers say.

The Nebraska Farm Bureau says exports add several thousand dollars each year to all Dawson County household incomes. Local officials note future opportunities for youth to live and work in Dawson County are highly dependent on international trade.

The Lexington Council for Economic Development is sponsoring an International Trade Town Hall at 7 p.m. on Thursday, June 14 at the Lexington Holiday Inn Express convention center. Residents from all walks of life are encouraged to attend.

Panelists have extensive trade experience and will share their stories and join a question and answer session that evening to discuss what international trade means to all area residents.

Among those scheduled to appear are:

• John McCoy, president of Orthman Manufacturing at Lexington;

• Craig Uden of Johnson Lake, immediate past president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association;

• Scott McPheeters of Gothenburg, a member of the Nebraska Ethanol Board and KAAPA Cooperative Board;

• Paul Mussman of Holdrege, president of Ag West Commodities;

• Don Hutchens of Johnson Lake, retired executive director of the Nebraska Corn Board.

The Lexington CED, along with assistance from farm and commodity groups, is planning to launch a petition drive at the meeting to encourage the U.S. government to pursue legislation, policies, executive actions and regulations to foster greater access to foreign markets.

Beef and corn are the two biggest export commodities in Dawson County, with pork and soybeans close behind.

Export trades add an estimated $300 to the value of each beef animal and $50 to each pork animal produced in the United States.

More than 50% of Nebraska’s soybeans — 6 out of every 12 rows planted — are exported. China, Indonesia and Taiwan the are three biggest customers.

Finally, farm equipment manufactured in Dawson and surrounding counties is exported all around the world.