Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Wagyu: American Cattlemen To Rescue Japan's Wagyu?

Will United States cattlemen be asked to rescue the Japanese beef cattle industry?


Wagyu beef cattle in Japan are being decimated by foot-and-mouth disease. The Japanese government has ordered thousands of the most valuable Wagyu cattle to be destroyed, in order to contain the highly-contagious disease.

The same Wagyu breed are raised in the United States. Will American cattlemen come to the rescue of the Japanese beef industry, just as American farmers rescued the French wine industry 150 years ago.


Wagyu beef cattle produces among the most valuable, highly marbled steak in the world.

When the cattle are raised in the Japanese Prefecture of Kobe, the cattle are called Kobe beef. The price for the highest quality of Kobe beef is significantly more than $100.00 per pound.

The Wagyu breed was developed originally in Japan. Today, Wagyu beef cattle are raised not only in Japan but in several other countries, including the United States.


Much of Japan's Wagyu cattle are now being decimated by foot-and-mouth disease. As a result, Japan's cattlemen are in danger of losing their Wagyu entire Wagyu seed stock.

Japan's cattlemen are facing the greatest disaster in their history. ABC News is reporting today that "Japan will slaughter dozens of its top Wagyu stud bulls as a foot-and-mouth outbreak continues its rapid spread through the country's south."

There is a real danger that the entire Japanese beef cattle industry will be destroyed.


In the mid-19th Century, a similar agricultural crisis occurred in France. A disease in the vineyards spread throughout France and much of Europe. The blight became the greatest disaster in the history of wine. Called grape Phylloxera, the disease decimated the French vineyards.

In 1882, American scientists at the University of California discovered a method to prevent the blight. They found that grafting the French vine (Vitis vinifera) onto the Californian vine (Vitis californica) prevented the Phylloxera from spreading.

With this discovery, American farmers came to the rescue of French farmers. Americans grew and sent thousands of vines to France, where French farmers planted the vines and then the grafted onto them the dying French vines. The solution worked. See the history of the great epidemic.

Today, French farmers owe their roots (literally) to American farmers.


As the Wagyu beef cattle crisis looms in Japan, farmers there face the prospect of losing their entire herds and stock.

American farmers may be called on again to come to the rescue of fellow-farmers. Like their predecessors 150 years ago, American farmers, if called upon, stand ready, willing and able to come to the rescue of their Japanese counterparts.


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