**Promoting the quality and flavor of U.S. beef and pork to one of the fastest growing foodservice sectors in Japan, the U.S. Meat Export Federation participated in the Yakiniku Business Fair.

USMEF Japan Director Takemichi Yamashoji says they promoted a U.S. beef full-pound steak at the event and while steaks in Japan are typically a third to half-pound, larger and thicker cuts are gaining popularity.

Held annually in Tokyo, this event is Japan’s largest industry trade show and one of the largest food trade shows.

**USDA has released its first planting estimates of the year and predicts robust corn and soybean acres, but not expected to surpass record acreage from recent years.

According to agrimarketing.com, USDA chief economist, Robert Johansson says they expect roughly equal corn and soybean acres in 2018, with each landing at 90 million.

That's 0.2% lower than a year ago for corn, and 0.1% lower for soybeans.

Wheat, on the other hand, is projected to rise 1.1% in 2018 to 46.5 million acres.

**The long wait is over. Iowa’s Bill Northey has been confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Service.

Ag Secretary Perdue noted Northey will arrive at the USDA just as the new Farm Bill is formulated to address the needs of American farmers.

According to agriculture.com, the timing for Northey’s resignation and swearing-in will be announced at a later date.