Value of US pork, beef exports hit records in 2012
However, the potential for increased sales to Japan, the No. 2 U.S. market after Canada, could limit the fallout of fewer sales to Russia.
Japan last month announced that it will accept U.S. beef from cattle up to 30 months old, a change from its previous 20-month age limit. The 20-month limit had been in place for a decade as a safe guard against mad cow disease. Meat from the older cattle was shipped to Japan last week, said Philip Seng, president of the Meat Export Federation.
"The trade does have this mentality that exports will be down this year... certainly with the Russia news taking precedent. But if we see Japanese buying, we could change some expectations," Nelson said.
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