On June 4, Japanese magazine editors toured the King Ranch near Cheyenne, Wyoming, and the Y6 Ranch of Cattlemen’s Beef Board member Irv Petch near Meriden.
The Japanese guests helped move cattle at the 112-year-old King Ranch, learned how ranchers care for the cattle and land with emphasis on how today’s ranchers maintain age-old traditions while contributing to research and embracing progress to improve ranching and agriculture production. At the King Ranch, the Eisele family treated the visitors to beef brisket produced on the ranch and topped off the experience with homemade homegrown rhubarb pies.
The visitors then drove north to tour the Petsch family’s Y6 feedyard and farm ground. The Petsch family began hosting international visitors in the 1980s with the goal of showing them how they produce cattle and a quality meat product, along with the care they give to their animals.
“We have the opportunity to increase our market share in Japan, and by doing these tours and by doing everything we can to make the Japanese customers more comfortable with our product, it just adds to the production side of our economy,” says Petsch. “We couldn’t do as well without the export market as we do with it. It’s an integral part of our beef industry.”
Twelve-year-old Sam Petsch was an integral part of the tour from start to finish. Most notably, he prepared perfectly seared ribeye steaks for all guests using Grandpa Irv’s secret marinade recipe.
Beef Exports to Japan
Japan continued to shine for U.S. beef in April 2017, with exports up 15 percent in volume (51.9 million pounds) and 17 percent in value ($143.3 million). Through April, exports to Japan exceeded last year’s pace by more than one-third in both volume (215.9 million pounds, up 34 percent) and value ($570.6 million, up 35 percent). Growth to Japan has been driven by the surging volume of chilled U.S. beef, indicating widespread acceptance and a growing range of U.S. cuts available in both the retail and foodservice sectors.
In 2015, Japanese media coverage of a similar tour held at the Farthing Ranch reached over a million consumers in Japan. For this year’s tour, the Japanese media outlets included representatives from Domani magazine, Shokuraku magazine, buono magazine and Be&Po.
“Japan is a key market for American beef producers,” said Ann Wittmann, executive director of the Wyoming Beef Council. “The Japanese media are fascinated by our cowboy culture and want to both see how ranchers live and care for cattle. Part of that culture is how we cook and serve beef to our families, so we like to demonstrate a variety of ways to show how easy beef is to prepare.”
Petsch says their farm is always open to visitors. “We are totally transparent about what we do here. We don’t do anything we don’t want people to see. Everything is up-to-date and modern, we follow the most recent guidelines, so we enjoy having people out to see our operation.
“The scientific studies that are done through the checkoff, and the many different things the checkoff does to increase opportunities to market beef, are unbelievable,” concludes Petsch. “I don’t know where we would be without our checkoff, but I hate to think about that.”
This tour was made possible by the Wyoming Beef Council and the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF), contractor to the beef checkoff.
For more information about your beef checkoff investment, visit MyBeefCheckoff.com.