U.S. beef exports this year will probably exceed $5 billion for the first time ever, after setting a value record of about $4.2 billion in 2010.
For cattle ranchers including Luke Reimers of Orland, CA, beef exports play an important role in their marketing strategy. Reimers, who ranches with his father Del Reimers at Black Butte Ranch, is raising a large group of steers that in a few months will be processed for beef to be shipped to Japan.
"The Japanese particularly look for black, naturally raised cattle. They will be fed out here in California, processed and shipped to Japan. They will be processed at about 15 to 16 months of age when they weigh about 840 lbs.," he says.
Reimers says there are more challenges involved in raising cattle for the Japanese market because the buyers want only black cows that are raised naturally.