OMAHA, Neb. — Nebraska is sending its first shipment of beef to China under an agreement that allowed the U.S. to resume exports after a 14-year hiatus.

The first boxes from Greater Omaha Packing went out Wednesday. Gov. Pete Ricketts and Nebraska Department of Agriculture Director Greg Ibach helped load the first boxes.

China cut off exports in 2003 after mad cow disease affected some American herds. The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Monday that it had finalized an agreement with China to restart exports.

Ricketts says Nebraska is the nation’s top beef processor and exporter, and China is the world’s second-largest beef importer. The governor had urged Chinese officials to lift their ban on previous trade missions.