Roundup Time for Teriyaki Beef

Japanese investors buy prime U.S. ranches and packinghouses

Move over, Ben Cartwright. Some rich new cattle barons have come to town. In the past year Japanese investors have developed an appetite for U.S. beef- producing properties, including ranches, feedlots and packinghouses. Zenchiku, a major Tokyo-based meat importer, bought the 80,000-acre Selkirk Ranch near Dillon, Mont., last October for $13 million. A company called Mt. Shasta Beef, formed by Japanese entrepreneur Masa Tanabe and three California cattlemen, spent $2.2 million in January to lay claim to a 6,000-acre ranch in Northern California's Siskiyou County.

What spurred the investments was Tokyo's agreement last June to lift trade restrictions that limited imports...

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