Texas ranchers are applauding Japan’s move to ease restrictions on U.S. beef. Japan will allow imports of meat from American cattle aged 30 months or younger, instead of the current 20 months, according to a statement from the U.S. government.
“There were a bunch of these cattle that we could not prove they were under 20 months," said Pete Bonds, a rancher in Fort Worth and a vice president with the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association.
"We could not import certain cuts of beef from them. And a lot of these cuts were cuts like short ribs and short plates, which is not very popular here in the United States. And also tongues," he said.
Even so, higher demand for U.S. beef might result in higher prices for American consumers. Shortly after the news was announced, cattle futures surged to their highest level in six months, Bloomberg News reported.
Texas ranchers are coping with a shortage of cattle brought about by the drought. Earlier this month, Cargill announced plans to idle one of its large beef processing facilities in the Panhandle.
The change is set to take effect on February 1.