Washington Ag December 13, 2005 A wonderful Christmas present is how Washington Cattlemen's Association executive vice president Jack Field describes Monday's announcement by Japan that its market is now partially reopened to U.S. beef. It was nearly two years ago around Christmas that Japan banned U.S. beef imports because of that Washington cow of Canadian origin that had BSE.
Field: "Japan prior to 2003 was the number one exporting partner for the United States and we hope again to reclaim that status."
Japan is only going to accept beef from cattle under 21 months of age and there is an export verification process involved, but Field doesn't foresee any difficulties for producers interested in targeting the Japanese market.
Field: "We've already got people throughout the state actively individually identifying their cattle and keeping and verifying the appropriate documentation for the age verification. I don't think that additional record keeping is going to be any big step or imposition for any producer that's interested."
Boise based Agri Beef, which owns Washington Beef in Toppenish, recently announced a program that pays about a $15 dollar a head premium for cattle delivered to that plant whose beef will qualify for the Japanese market.
I'm Bob Hoff.