The Agriculture Department has announced Japan will loosen its restrictions on U.S. beef shipments. South Dakota ranchers say that's a good move for the cattle industry.
Japan will accept shipments of cattle up to 30-months-old instead of up to 20-months. Bob Fortune, Vice President of South Dakota Stock Growers Association says that will boost the American meat industry, especially since there's a big supply of meat now coming out of feedlots. But Fortune says beef supplies across the nation will become limited long-term, which that increased cost will ultimately be put onto the consumer. And he estimates that change could come as early as April.
"It probably will increase the price of meat a little bit in the supermarket you know that the supply is limited now and so it will probably increase the cost for consumers.
Bill Cluck, a member of both R-Calf USA and the SD Stock Growers Association says imports and exports can sometimes make the market more volatile. But Cluck says he's hopeful the eased restrictions will make the industry steadier.
"Exports hopefully will improve our market at the producer level at the same time making the consumer more available to the product," Cluck said.
Japan is known to be a big user of variety meats, such as beef tongue and liver, which aren't used as often in the U.S. Fortune and Cluck say continual use of those meats by the Asian nation will increase the value of the carcass.