The demand for beef in Russia is soaring, but trade and health restrictions are constantly curbing imports of frozen beef from the United States. To work around the problem, American beef ranchers are providing Russian markets with beef that is ultra-fresh -- it's still mooing.
As reported this past week in The New York Times, American beef ranchers have been meeting high demand for their prized Angus and Hereford heritage brands by sending breeding bulls and heifers on exotic international journeys from ranches in the Midwest to places like Russia.
Beside sending stud bulls, ranchers can ship embryos. The Times also cites the example of Darrell Stevenson, a Montana commercial rancher who opened a ranch south of Moscow by importing 1,400 pregnant cows from the United States.
The unconventional techniques respond to the constant trade and health-related blocks on import being bandied about by the Russian government. Just last month, Russian authorities tightened restrictions on imported U.S. beef after saying they'd found E. Coli in beef bought from Kansas-based Tyson Fresh Farms. In that instance, and during another import ban set on Brazilian meat back in June, officials cited sanitary concerns but did not provide supporting documentation.
On the other hand, Russia is an extremely attractive market for beef exporters. Meat and Livestock Australia, an Australian trade association, reports beef imports from all sources jumped by five percent between August 2010 and 2011, when compared to the same period in the previous year.