HARRISONBURG — Japan has agreed to allow exports of U.S. beef from cattle younger than 30 months, a relaxing of restrictions put in place in 2005 that permitted American beef imports only from cattle up to 20 months old. That followed a total ban in 2003, when a U.S. cow was found to have bovine spongiform encephalopathy, more commonly known as mad cow disease.
Japan is “a high-value market” for U.S. beef, Spencer Neale, commodity marketing director for the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, said in a statement. Therefore, any increase in trade will help improve market conditions for cattle farmers in the central Valley and throughout Virginia through increased demand and higher cattle prices.
Japan’s imports of U.S. beef plunged by 60 percent from 2001 to 2011. When Japan first imposed the ban 10 years ago, it had been the largest exporter of U.S. beef, with more than $1.3 billion in sales and 37 percent of total U.S. beef exports.
— Staff Report