American bison is trying to gain access to the Japanese market.  Industry officials recently had an opportunity to meet face to face with Japanese officials during a visit to some U.S. bison processing facilities.  Jim Matheson, Executive Director of the National Bison Association, said they’ve lobbied Japan for access for several years.


"It so happened that when we were in D.C. in September for our fly-in, we were sitting down with the Foreign Ag Service and they let us know that there's a Japanese delegation that was coming to Colorado in December.  They expressed interest to tour a bison processing plant, which as I understand it is kind of the first step for their consideration of opening up for our products.”


Matheson pointed out that one of the biggest bison processors is in Colorado; Rocky Mountain Natural Meats.  He said the tour great, and he feels like progress was made.


“We are a relatively small sector of American agriculture. We processed about 75,000, head of bison last year here in the U.S., which was a record year for us.  That said, you know, we do have members in our association that are seeking to export actively to Japan.  At the same time we have folks in Japan that are seeking bison imports.  So, we're trying to connect those folks of course and show the governments, both US and Japan, that there is significant demand there.”

Matheson noted there is virtually no competition for bison from other counties, pointing out that bison is uniquely American.


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