WASHINGTON (DTN)--Increasing feeder cattle exports to Canada are helping dramatically improve cow-calf options in northern U.S. states, according to the president of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA).

During October, exports of U.S. feeder cattle to Canada increased by 64% over the same period in 1999, and by nearly five percent over 2000. Overall, last year feeder cattle exports increased by 13% over the previous shipping year.

"We're working diligently to see that interests of U.S. cattle producers are protected in the international market," said Lynn Cornwell, a cattle producer from Glasgow, MT, and NCBA president. "As more and more states are authorized to ship feeder cattle north, and greater equilibrium is achieved, the better it will be for those of us who raise cattle in the U.S."

This year, South Dakota was approved as a shipping state to Canada. And the U.S. continues to push for increased access to the Canadian market for its cattle.

Cattle aren't the only export of the U.S. cattle industry. Beef is a product enjoying increased acceptance worldwide. Developing U.S. beef exports throughout the world has helped enhance beef producer profitability by widening the customer base for the end product.

In 2000, for instance, world meat demand grew by more than 3 billion pounds--and less than one percent of the growth was in the U.S. In 15 years, U.S. beef exports have increased 325% in volume and 393% in value, according to the U.S. Meat Export Federation.

Through NCBA trade policy efforts, the U.S. cattle industry is helping support expansion of beef exports. For instance, NCBA supported the acceptance of China into the World Trade Organization (WTO). The WTO officially accepted China as a member on Nov. 10, and Taiwan on Nov. 11.

China's membership in the WTO gives America's cattle ranchers access to new wholesale and retail market channels, as tariffs on beef will decline from 45% to 12% by 2005. U.S. farmers and ranchers will benefit through increased exports to a country of 1.3 billion people.

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