A meatpacking plant in Tama is the first in the state to receive approval to export beef to China.

The approval for Iowa Premium comes two weeks after the 13-year ban on U.S. beef imports to China was lifted. Iowa Premium CEO Jeffrey Johnson says the approval process is pretty similar to getting approval to ship anywhere else.

“The U.S.D.A. looks at your quality assurance assessment programs and your export verification programs, also there’s some grade labeling programs. They look at all of our programs — assess them and if they meet the standard for shipping to China — then they approve us,” Johnson explains. Johnson says they process Black Angus beef that they will send to China. He says the Chinese like all of the cuts from the cow.

“That’s the thing that we think is a good advantage for the beef industry in China, that they do take a breadth across the carcass. They don’t just take the middles, they don’t just take the ends, the take a good mix and China is going to be a real good partner for the beef industry,” Johnson says.

Johnson says they hope to send out the first shipments in a couple of weeks.

— Read more from Radio Iowa