LINCOLN, Neb. – Cargill Meat Solutions and the Nebraska Department of Agriculture have launched a campaign aimed restoring the Spencer Beef brand to its former prominence in the Japanese market.

Nebraska Agriculture Director Greg Ibach is in Japan promoting Spencer Beef, a brand that was popular with Japanese consumers. But the brand disappeared from the Japanese market after a case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy emerged in 2003, and US beef exports to Japan stopped. Ibach will promote the Spencer Beef brand at events in Tokyo and Osaka. He said Spencer Beef only will be produced at Cargill’s Schuyler, Neb. processing plant, and it will be branded as a Nebraska product in the Japanese marketplace.

“We are excited to partner with Cargill as they reintroduce this brand,” Ibach said. “They recognize that foreign markets place a high value on products that carry the Nebraska name. The events this week are part of NDA’s ongoing effort to brand Nebraska as a premier supplier of high quality agricultural goods to the international marketplace.”

Cargill said sales of fresh and frozen Nebraska beef to Japan annually averaged $340 million in the five years before the ban on exports in 2003. Nebraska sold almost $113 million in fresh and frozen beef to Japan in 2012.

“Cargill is delighted to reintroduce Spencer Beef to the Japanese market, and we look forward to filling the needs of retail and foodservice customers, as well as consumers who have shown a preference for beef from the United States,” said Eddie Troutman, Cargill vice president for international beef sales. “We know Japanese consumers enjoy and trust American beef, and our goal is to provide a high quality, nutritious, flavorful and abundant supply exclusively from our Nebraska processing facility.”