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BrownfieldAgNews reports:

After years of negotiation and speculation, it's now official-Japan will resume imports of U.S. beef from cattle less than 30 months old.

The USDA has confirmed that the deal will take effect this Friday.

National Cattlemen's Beef Association president J.D. Alexander of Pilger, Nebraska called the announcement "a shot in the arm to a market and producers facing continued drought, high input costs and increasing federal regulation.

"This is great news for cattlemen and women and is a significant milestone in our trading relationship with Japan," Alexander says. "This move is an important step forward in paving the way toward greater export opportunities to one of our largest export markets."

Since 2006, Japan has restricted imports of U.S. beef to products from cattle under 20 months of age. Those rules came after the country initially banned all beef imports from the U.S. following its first case of BSE in December 2003.

A statement from the USDA and U.S. Trade Representative said the agreement should "result in hundreds of millions of dollars in exports of U.S. beef to Japan in the coming years."

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