AR-News: It's Japan's most famous beef -- raised in Texas?
info at animalconcerns.org
Sun Feb 15 10:25:04 EST 2004
ATHENS, Texas - Only in Texas.
On rolling fields that once encompassed a gay-oriented resort, then a
cowboy boot retailer's country retreat, a bass
fishing-champion-turned-lure-mogul named Gary Yamamoto has built one of
the world's largest herds of Wagyu cattle, the Japanese breed that turns
out expensive Kobe-style steaks.
"It's a new challenge, and it's more exciting because Wagyu is going to
impact the health of the country," the youthful 60-year-old Yamamoto said
at his BK Ranch in East Texas.
It's also a $15 million gamble for the Hawaiian-born Yamamoto, whose only
previous agricultural experience came during childhood when he watched his
father harvest taro -- the root mashed into the Polynesian staple poi --
on a weekend farm on his native Oahu.
The 5-year-old ranching venture turned modestly profitable during the
second half of 2003 on sales of $3.5 million, he said, adding that 2004 is
expected to be the breakaway year.
That was before the mad cow discovery in Washington state put a scare
through consumers and the industry.
"Although I hate to put a positive spin on something so nasty," said Mark
Hoegh, director of marketing at Yamamoto's YamaBeef, "business has not
slowed, and we've actually picked up some new accounts" from people
concerned about the origin of the beef they sell.
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