Hello, I'm Mark Pearson.
The big news in agriculture this week focused on major trade issues.
Let's start with the long-awaited good news first. Late in the week, Japan announced it will immediately reopen its borders to U.S. beef.
The country banned American beef in January, following the discovery of prohibited spinal cord material in a shipment of veal.
While American beef could land on Japanese soil in the next few weeks, it may be some time before the U.S. reclaims all of its former market share.
While Japan has reopened its borders to U.S. beef, the country has imposed restrictions that could slow the U.S. export process.
All the beef must come from 34 of the 35 meat processing plants inspected and approved by Japanese inspectors. USDA says no other plants will be approved for the Japan market for at least six months.
As stated in earlier demands, the beef must come from cattle less than 20 months old, and shipments can not contain animal parts the Asian country considers a contributing cause of mad cow disease.
USDA Secretary Mike Johanns asked the Japanese Government to meet with him this fall to "discuss the next steps toward strengthening our beef trading relationship and graduating to standards based in science."