Japan’s decision last week to ease some restrictions on U.S. beef imports was good news for Kansas. Because of concerns about mad cow disease, Japan banned U.S. beef in 2003, and later allowed only beef from cattle younger than 20 months. The current agreement raises the age to 30 months. “I am pleased our Kansas ranchers have additional access to this critical market,” said Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan. “After two years of drought, this is certainly welcome news, especially in the long term, for U.S. beef producers.” Before the 2003 ban, Japan was the biggest U.S. customer, importing 918 million pounds of U.S. beef. In 2011, Japan imported 456 million pounds of U.S. beef.
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