At a time when feed costs are high, forage crops are drought stressed and consumers are facing higher beef prices, there is growing uneasiness among many cattle producers who have culled herds to downsize operations in the face of market uncertainty.

Bubba Bain, executive director of the American Akaushi Association, says it’s just a matter of time before the industry recovers from the drought and advices producers that now is a good time to focus on quality instead of quantity.

“When it comes to beef, it’s all about quality. Consumers want tenderness, flavor and consistency, and they want a healthier product,” Bains said. “Producers can accomplish higher quality in just one generation by breeding their cows with Akaushi bulls or through artificial insemination, which will result in beef cattle that is highly marketable and will result in greater profits.”

Bain, the American Akaushi Association and Texas producers of Akaushi beef claim the breed provides a superior quality of beef recognized not only in Japan but at a growing number of restaurants in the United States because of its buttery flavor, remarkable tenderness, high degree of marbling and its rating as a ‘health food’.

The Akaushi breed, considered a national treasure in Japan, got its start in Texas in 1994 when a trade loophole allowed eight unrelated females and three unrelated males to be shipped to Texas by Dr. Antonio Elias Calles, a geneticist and researcher who was interested in how the breed contributed to the famously healthy Japanese diet. Over the last nine years, this small nucleus of cattle has resulted in nearly 8,000 head of beef cattle being produced in the U.S.

The Akaushi breed originated in Kumamoto, Japan, on the Island of Kyushu, about 100 years ago. Japan’s Association of Akaushi, established some 80 years ago, began collecting breed data on behalf of the Japanese government and continues to do so today. During this time the data has been used to select prospective sire and dam lines to be used for additional genetic improvement. As a result, even in modern times, new sire and dam lines are only released for general production after they have been proven by accurate statistical analysis.