US beef surplus

Alex Cohen Jun 22, 2006


TESS VIGELAND: Japan agreed yesterday to lift a ban on US beef imports pending inspections of American meat processing plants. That’s good news for American cattlemen who now find themselves with a surplus of meat on their hands. Alex Cohen tells us why.

ALEX COHEN: Drought in states like Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Missouri has meant less grass for cattle to feed on this year. That’s forcing many cattlemen to slaughter more cows than usual.

Initial estimates indicate beef cow slaughter was up 9% in May compared to a year ago.

Joe Schuele of National Cattlemen’s Beef Association says the increase has led to a surplus of beef which could lead to a drop in prices. So, will Japan’s lift of the ban on US beef help?

JOE SCHUELE: Things are still a little bit sketchy in terms of exactly what Japan has agreed to. And so it’s a little too early to get excited about Japan in terms of helping out the market.

What could really help Schuele says, is if countries like China and Korea resume imports of US beef, too. That, and a lot of rain.

I’m Alex Cohen for Marketplace.

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