Japanese beef buyers tour Wisconsin farms, processors

A delegation of six Japanese chefs and food service providers is in Wisconsin to see beef production first-hand. 

The Wisconsin Beef Council and the U.S. Meat Export Federation organized the trade mission to show beef buyers how their meat is raised and processed, from the farm to the meat case, and to the table.

Tammy Vaasen with the Wisconsin Beef Council says the Wisconsin Initiative for Agricultural Exports funding allows the council to show Japanese buyers the diversity, quality genetics, and sustainability of the state’s beef industry. “They were asking about what are those cattle fed in the winter months as well, so we talked about that. We talked about water quality. There was interest there, just thinking about water differences between what we have in Wisconsin and what they have in Japan.”

Tatsuru Kasatani

Tatsuru Kasatani with the Tokyo office of the U.S. Meat Export Federation tells Brownfield that Japanese consumers are looking for more than a high-quality meat product. “The Japanese (are) very curious about how the actual cattle is raised, not only the cattle, all of the food ingredients, where they come from, how it is raised, how it is treated, so we try to gather the information. It’s very important for us, yes.”

Kasatani says eliminating Japan’s import age limit of up to 30 months a few years ago has opened up more opportunities for U.S. beef sales in Japan.

The delegation visited Huth Polled Herefords and Hahn Meat Packing Wednesday and will tour a grocery store, the JBS meatpacking plant, and American Foods Group in Green Bay this week.

Wisconsin Beef Council’s Tammy Vaasen discusses the tour with Japanese buyers with Brownfield’s Larry Lee during a stop near Appleton, WI
Tatsuru Kasatani with USMEF discusses what Japanese look for in quality beef with Brownfield’s Larry Lee
Tammy Vaasen from Wisconsin Beef Council, Philip Schmidt from Hahn’s Meat Packing, and Jeff Swenson from Wisconsin’s Department of Ag, Trade, and Consumer Protection during tour with Japanese buyers

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