Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Gerry Ritz announced on Jan. 28 that Japan will implement an amendment to its beef import requirements, enabling Canadian beef from cattle aged under-30-months to be eligible for shipment to Japan for the first time in a decade.
When the long-awaited amendment comes into effect on Feb. 1, it will essentially double the number of cattle that are eligible to produce beef for Japan and enable Canada to export on a year-round basis.
Japan closed its beef market to Canada in May 2003 following the detection of a case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy in a Canadian born cow.
Japan partially re-opened its market in December 2005 to Canadian beef, but only from cattle under 21 months of age.
The number of beef cattle farms in the Nechako Valley dropped 45 per cent since 2006, according to a 2011 census of agriculture.