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updated: 2/8/2013 7:48 AM

Japan's increased beef demand good news for Wis.

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Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. -- Japan is buying more American beef, which is good news for Wisconsin's 14,000 cattle farmers.

A Wisconsin Public Radio report says Japan used to restrict U.S. beef imports out of concerns about mad-cow disease, but it recently relaxed some restrictions. Now U.S. beef exports to Japan are expected to grow from about $850 million per year to $1.5 billion.

John Freitag is the executive director of the Wisconsin Beef Council. He says the new standards are good for Wisconsin, especially because the industry is struggling through an especially tough period.

He says some beef farmers have been thinking of leaving the industry or shrinking their herds because of high feed prices. He says a stronger Japanese market gives Wisconsin farmers more incentive to stay in business.

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