PIERRE, S.D. (KELO-AM) – As follow-up to an October 2012 trip, the South Dakota Department of Agriculture (SDDA) partnered with the Montana and Kansas Departments of Agriculture to send a delegation focusing on beef genetics to the Russian Federation on Oct. 23– Nov. 2.
The South Dakota contingent included Ty Eschenbaum with SDDA, Craig Bieber from Leola, S.D. and Brandon Peterson of Alcester, S.D.
The ten-day trade mission included stops in Moscow and Novosibirsk, Russia’s third largest city located in the Siberian region. The group participated in meetings with the U.S. Embassy and USDA Foreign Ag Service Professionals as well as local government leaders, Russian cattle producers and potential buyers of U.S. beef genetics.
In Moscow, the delegation was able to meet with a Russian investor who previously purchased a shipment of South Dakota raised cattle. In the Siberian region, the group represented U.S. beef producers at the “AgroExpo Siberia” agriculture exhibition and toured a local dairy and beef operation.
A highlight of the trip included meeting with government officials who described their plans to jump-start the beef industry in their region and how the U.S. can partner with them to meet their goals.
As stated by Craig Bieber, “The initiative Russia’s government has in place to rebuild their beef industry is an ambitious one and the opportunity to tour farms and meet with high level government officials was extremely interesting. South Dakota’s cattle industry has a huge opportunity to supply them with breeding females, semen and embryos through 2020 and beyond.”
“This successful trip was a collaborative effort to not only continue demonstrating that the U.S., especially the Northern Plains, is a top producer of high-quality beef genetics, but to help build the knowledge and relationships necessary for willing South Dakota producers to capitalize on this emerging market,” Eschenbaum said.
According to the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), “In 2012, Russian imports of live cattle rose by almost 50 percent in volume and value to 137,000 head, worth nearly half a billion dollars. Of this amount, the U.S. had the largest share, at over 54 percent of total imports. Russia was the largest market in the world for U.S. cattle exports in 2012.”
Funding for the focused trade mission to Russia is provided by U.S. Livestock Genetics Export (USLGE), a non-profit international trade organization that includes SDDA as a member. USLGE has cooperator status with the FAS of the USDA and uses Market Access Program funds to help develop international markets for U.S. livestock.
Agriculture is South Dakota's No. 1 industry, generating over $21 billion in annual economic activity and employing more than 122,000 South Dakotans. The South Dakota Department of Agriculture's mission is to promote, protect, preserve and improve this industry for today and tomorrow. Visit us online athttp://sdda.sd.gov or find us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SDAgDept and Twitter @SDAgriculture.