Missouri clinches beef deal in Asia

Director secures sale of two tons of meat after Taiwan lifts ban.
Friday, January 27, 2006 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 4:36 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 8, 2008

ST. LOUIS — The same day Taiwan lifted a ban on U.S. beef imports, Missouri made its first sale to the Asian country.

Missouri Agriculture Director Fred Ferrell, in the midst of a trip to Taiwan and Japan, said Thursday he has received initial orders for two metric tons of Missouri-bred beef. Next stop: Japan.

“If we do as good in Japan as we did in Taiwan, we’ll have made a complete home run,” Ferrell said in a telephone interview.

News of the sale came Wednesday, as Taiwan announced it was lifting a ban on U.S. beef imports. The ban was imposed in June after a U.S. cow was found to be infected with mad cow disease.

Ferrell said the delegation was driving back to the hotel from a reception with Taiwanese buyers when they called to place orders.

In October, Missouri became the only state to develop and implement a unique tagging program that identifies the source and age of its feeder cattle. The claims are verified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which is important in selling beef to countries such as Taiwan and Japan that will only buy beef from cows slaughtered before a certain age because of mad cow concerns.

With 70,000 beef producers, Missouri is second only to Texas in the number of calf-producing cows.

Ferrell said packaged beef from Missouri cattle will be sent by air to Taiwan in the coming weeks.

Beginning today, the delegation will meet with Japanese officials and buyers in anticipation that Japan will lift its ban eventually.

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