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The Oregonian reports that ranchers in that state who have begun marketing their beef under a brand name are experiencing strong sales increases, as consumers react to the recent discovery of a case of mad cow disease in Washington State.

Nationwide, the paper reports, there are between 40 and 60 beef brandsm, ranging from well known names such as "Certified Angus Beef" to regional brands that are "naturally raised" without added hormones or antibiotics, to boutique labels such as Kobe Beef America.

"The US Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service recently launched a study to learn the proportion of beef sales that occur under specialized brand labels," the paper reports. "Agricultural economists expect that the number of brands will grow as consumers indicate they're willing to pay more for branded beef over generic."
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