Japan is easing restrictions on beef imports from the United States.
This has been a long time coming for the U.S. beef industry.
Prior to America's first case of mad cow disease discovered ten years ago, Japan was the largest importer of U.S. beef.
In 2005, they lifted the ban on U.S. but, only for those younger than 20-months.
The latest easing of restrictions would allow cattle from the U.S. as old as 30-months.
This is good news for an industry that has been suffering through the worst drought in more than 60-years.
But, industry experts are cautiously optimistic.
Beef imports from the U.S. to Japan have been increasing steadily over the last few years. But, not even close to where they were prior to the mad cow case in December of 2003.
Last year, Japan imported more than $800 million worth of U.S. beef.
Prior to 2003, they imported nearly $1.5 billion worth.