A Nebraska beef product is hoping to make its way back into the Japanese market following its reintroduction by Cargill Meat Solutions and the Nebraska Department of Agriculture.
Agriculture Director Greg Ibach is in Japan this week along with representatives of Cargill Meat Solutions in Schuyler, Neb. to promote the availability of Spencer Beef. The premium beef brand was popular in Japan before U.S. beef exports were halted in December 2003 due to the finding of a case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy in the United States.
Ibach said Spencer Beef only will be produced at Cargill's Schuyler processing plant, and it will be branded as a Nebraska product in the Japanese marketplace. According to Ibach, many foreign markets place a high value and products that carry the Nebraska name.
He hopes that the events of this week will aid in the department's ongoing efforts to "brand Nebraska as a premier supplier of high quality agricultural goods to the international marketplace."
Eddie Troutman, Cargill vice president for international beef sales said, "Cargill is delighted to reintroduce Spencer Beef to the Japanese market, and we look forward to filling the needs of retail and foodservice customers, as well as consumers who have shown a preference for beef from the United States."
Sales of fresh and frozen Nebraska beef to Japan annually averaged $340 million in the five years prior to the stop in exports in 2003.
The Japanese market reopened to beef from cattle 20 months of age or younger in late 2005, and sales have steadily gained since that time.
The age limit increased to 30 months of age or younger in January, increasing the number of products available to Japan and prompting Cargill's interest in the reintroduction of Spencer Beef to the Japanese market.