MANHATTAN, Kan. — In February 2017, the Kansas Department of Agriculture sponsored seven Kansans in an agricultural trade mission to AgroFarm Russia to expand market opportunities in productive animal husbandry. AgroFarm Russia is a leading exhibition for animal husbandry and animal breeding, and provided the group an opportunity to interact with breeders and genetics companies to promote the use of U.S. livestock genetics.
Crystal Carothers of Carothers Brothers in Anthony, Kansas, appreciated this trip of a lifetime to advocate for agriculture and the U.S. livestock industry in Moscow. “I walked away with many new connections and a better understanding on ways to promote agriculture trade in Russia,” she said. “Through the work of KDA and the U.S. Embassy in Russia, we were given opportunities to visit with producers and see the actual marketing and production of agricultural products in Moscow.”
Other participants on the trade mission included: Mike Callicrate, No-Bull Enterprises, St. Francis, Kan.; George Eakin, Osborne Industries Inc., Osborne, Kan.; Thad Geiger, Geiger Cattle Inc., Troy, Kan.; and Lynne Hinrichsen, Suzanne Ryan-Numrich and Kerry Wefald, KDA.
No-Bull Enterprises and Osborne Industries also promoted their Kansas-made products in the booth at AgroFarm. Following the trade show, the group visited a dairy and dairy processing business outside of Moscow and experienced a retail tour of three supermarkets and one open market. One of the stops on the tour, a Miratorg supermarket, now features case-ready beef cuts merchandised and labeled with Black Angus branding. Over the past five years, Miratorg agricultural holdings has imported live purebred cattle from Kansas and surrounding states to establish production of high-quality marbled beef in Russia.
“Just a few years ago, Kansas was sending record numbers of cattle to Russia, although exports have decreased as sanctions were put in place by the Russian government in August 2014,” said Geiger. “Despite these current trade barriers, we believe it is necessary to foster trade relationships with Russia knowing at some point the sanctions will be lifted. Their initiative to become self-sufficient in feeding their people allows for the state of Kansas to develop relationships that place agriculture in a lead position. This trade mission planted many seeds to grow these trade relationships.”
The trade mission was sponsored by KDA with assistance from funds from U.S. Livestock Genetics Export Inc. and a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration using a State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) grant.
KDA strives to encourage and enhance economic growth of the agriculture industry and the Kansas economy by exploring and expanding both domestic and international marketing opportunities.