Nebraska Corn Board pitches state's beef to Japan

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By Tim McNicholas


Updated: Mon, 09 Sep 2013 08:32:12 CST

Droughts and controversy have slowed Nebraska's beef sales overseas for the past decade. But some Nebraska farmers have gone across the world and back to change that. At Tokyo Station in Japan, the walls are plastered with beef ads. But it's not always native beef the Japanese prefer. "The corn fed beef from Nebraska really fits perfectly in that niche of giving them a really flavorful highly flavored, highly marbled beef," said Tim Scheer. The St. Paul farmer traveled across the world to Japan in July. His goal? To re-surge the corn fed beef market in Japan. Nebraska beef is a change up from the Waygoo cattle or grass fed Australian meat that is popular in Japan. Nebraska beef was kicked out of the Japan market 2003 after a scare with mad cow disease. But many Nebraska farmers say this is a new age. "That's ten years and we're almost a generation removed from when that BSE case came in 2003 of December," said Mark Nagles. In 2003, Nebraska sold nearly 170 thousand dollars of beef before the ban. Putting a face on the product could help Nebraska beef get back on track. Nagles added, "When we were in Japan, they wanted to talk to the guy that was raising them, the guy that was feeding them, the guy that was marketing everything." "I think it was a great opportunity to interact with those people and put that face to face relationship for them," said Scheer. The farmers met face to face with 640 retailers, importers and marketers on their trip. "I think it's an up market. There's really nothing holding us back," said Scheer. Early this year, Japan began accepting beef less than 30 months old, leaning away from their prior restriction of 20 months.