J.D. Alexander, past president of the National Cattlemen's Association and feeder from Pilger, says the agreement by the United States and Japan to expand the beef export market into Japan is great news for cattle produces.
As of Feb. 1, Japan began accepting beef and beef products from cattle less than 30 months of age. The new terms and conditions expand market access from cattle under 20 months to cattle under 30 months, Alexander says. It is estimated that this change in protocol will result in hundreds of millions of dollars in additional exports of U.S. beef, he adds.
"This is a significant milestone in our trading relationship with Japan," according to Alexander. "Japan is a great market for U.S. beef and we look forward to continuing to meet Japanese consumer demands. This move is an important step forward in paving the way toward greater export opportunities to one of our largest export markets."
Through November 2012, Japan was the second largest export market for U.S. beef totaling $849 million and nearly 130,000 metric tons. Alexander adds that this announcement is a shot in the arm to a market and producers facing continued drought, high input costs and increasing federal regulation.
Greg Ibach, director of the Nebraska Department of Agriculture says the agreement will expand access for Nebraska beef into one of the state's most valuable trading markets.
"Our beef processors have done a good job since 2006 adapting to the under-20-month rules," Ibach says.
As a result, Nebraska is positioned to be a leader as opportunities arise as part of the new under-30-month protocol.
"The Nebraska Department of Agriculture will work with agriculture industry partners to take advantage of the new opportunities that his announcement provides," Ibach says. "We will show Nebraska's ongoing commitment to providing Japan with safe, wholesome beef."