China lifting import ban welcome news in Kansas.
More than a decade has passed since the Chinese enjoyed steak imported from the United States.
A ban levied after mad cow disease materialized in the U.S. led to the block on U.S. beef in 2003.
After a lone case of the brain-wasting disease bovine spongiform encephalopathy was reported that year in the United States, a multibillion-dollar toll was exacted on the beef industry as foreign markets halted imports.
The economy in Kansas and cattle-rich western Kansas in particular also suffered.
With as much in mind, it’s encouraging to see China look to the U.S. once again for beef.
Domestic producers in China can’t satisfy demand due to that country’s growing middle class and appetite for beef. With surging demand, China — already the second biggest beef buyer in the world — will become the most recent nation to lift an embargo on U.S. imports.
There are conditions, to include limiting U.S. beef imports to cattle younger than 30 months.
The first step toward resuming beef shipments to China was welcome for Kansas, a top producer of outstanding beef.
Gov. Sam Brownback celebrated the news in a state that’s been a perennial leader in beef cow numbers and the value of beef exported.
“This is tremendous news for Kansas farmers and ranchers and presents an opportunity to provide the growing middle class in China with high quality Kansas beef,” the governor said. “While our governments must continue to work closely on specific trade details to ensure a final agreement is based on sound science, this is an important and very positive step forward for the U.S. beef industry.”
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack also noted the value of the development.
“The United States produces the highest-quality beef in the world, and China’s 1.3 billion consumers are an important market for U.S. producers,” Vilsack said.
All involved know the U.S. cattle industry stays up-to-date on knowledge and expertise that ranges well beyond the basics of keeping animals well fed and healthy.
As leaders in the field, Kansas producers ensure ongoing, focused efforts to protect consumers’ health, the beef industry and, in turn, the economy as a whole.
They deserve to see more beef headed overseas.
— The Garden City Telegram