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Wyoming ranchers help to promote beef in Japan

March 29, 2015

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Two Wyoming ranch families are part of an advertising campaign to promote and increase the demand for American beef in Japan.

The U.S. Meat Export Federation chose Carol and Charlie Farthing and their family of Iron Mountain and Adam and Meghan George and their family of Cody for the campaign.

An article about the Farthings was posted earlier this year on the federation’s promotional website for Japan.

A story about the George family will be available later this spring, Anne Wittmann, executive director of the Wyoming Beef Council, said in a news release.

The profiles are written in Japanese and are translated from ones that have appeared on the Wyoming Beef Council’s website.

The Beef Council has written about these families to show the commitment and care it takes to provide high-quality beef, Wittmann said.

The campaign has directly reached about 420,000 Japanese consumers, Wittmann told the Wyoming Tribune Eagle.

However, the campaign has reached millions of people through contact with distributors, bloggers and food editors in Japan and social media, according to Joe Schuele, vice president of communications for the U.S. Meat Export Federation.

The federation is a nonprofit trade association that creates new and develops existing international markets for U.S. beef, pork, lamb and veal.

Japan has been a large market for United States beef for a long time, Schuele said.

International beef trade between the United States and Japan closed in 2002 when the U.S. reported its first case of BSE, a disease more commonly known as mad cow disease. The market reopened in 2006, and all restrictions were lifted in 2014.

Now, Japan has reclaimed its spot as the top international market for U.S. beef, Schuele said.

Last year set a record value of U.S. beef sold in Japan, reaching $1.6 billion, he said.

The federation often likes to feature stories about U.S. ranchers for Japanese and international customers, he said.

Foreign consumers are interested in knowing that ranch families in the United States provide them with the same meat they feed their own families, Schuele said.

This knowledge sends a strong message of safety and quality.

Wittmann said people are interested in the Wyoming cowboy way of life, adding that the campaign can show how hard they work to produce a nutritious, wholesome product.

Carol and Charlie Farthing and their two sons and daughters-in-law operate the Farthing Ranch at Iron Mountain, about 45 miles northwest of Cheyenne. The family was asked to participate in the campaign, Carol Farthing said.

“It is such an honor to represent Wyoming and the beef industry,” she said in a telephone interview. “We think we raise a very safe and quality product, and we’re happy to promote (it).”

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Information from: Wyoming Tribune Eagle, http://www.wyomingnews.com

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