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Wisconsin beef industry happy with increased exports to Japan

Cattle in a field
Cattle in a field

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Japan is buying more beef from the United States, and Wisconsin’s beef industry says it’s great news.

Wisconsin Public Radio said Japan used to restrict American beef imports due to concerns about mad cow disease. But some of those restrictions were recently relaxed – and U.S. beef imports to Japan are expected to grow from about $850 million a year to around $1.5 billion.

John Freitag, head of the Wisconsin Beef Council, says the new standards are good for the Badger State, because the industry is going through an especially hard time.

The state has around 14,000 cattle farmers – and Freitag said some beef farmers have been thinking about shrinking their herds or getting out of the business due to high feed prices. He believes a stronger market in Japan will give Wisconsin farmers more of an incentive to keep producing.