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Green light given on beef exports to Japan

Posted at 8:59 AM, May 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-20 10:59:45-04

The United States beef cattle industry received big news on Friday after Japan announced it was eliminating longstanding restrictions on U.S. beef exports, including the 30-month cattle age limit, which paves the way for expanded sales to the United States’ top global beef market.

Fred Wacker of Miles City is the president of the Montana Stockgrowers Association and he said it’s great news for the Treasure State’s beef cattle industry.

“It’s a huge announcement for Montana and U.S. cattle producers,” said Wacker. “We have been operating with, having to have age and source on our beef, since the BSE cow, which we never did ship any BSE beef to anybody.”

“So, it’s time that this happened and it’s going to open up the restrictions on grind from cows and bulls and from cattle that we don’t have to prove what their ages are. U.S. beef will be U.S. beef.”

The Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates the expanded access could increase U.S. beef and beef product exports to Japan by up to $200 million annually.

Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) weighed in from his farm in Big Sandy, “putting American beef fully back on the menu in Japan will help our cattle ranchers grow their operations and continue to make a living off the land.”

“Increasing access of U.S. beef into Japan means great opportunity for Montana ranchers. I’m glad to see the administration taking this much-needed step and I look forward to all the growth it will bring for Montana agriculture,” Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) added.

-Russell Nemetz reporting for MTN News