News / USA

American Cowboys Bring Beef Cows to Russia

American cowboys ride in a ranch in southern Russia
American cowboys ride in a ranch in southern Russia

Multimedia

Audio
James Brooke

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russians ate most of their beef cows as the system of reproduction broke down.  Now American ranchers are working to rebuild Russia's herd.

Darrell Stevenson, an American cowboy and cattle rancher, is not riding the black earth country of Russia to film a western movie.

He is bringing American-bred beef cattle, American ranching technology, and American cowboy knowhow to Russia.

After the Soviet Union collapsed, beef production in Russia also collapsed. People just ate the herds as the system of sustaining the cattle broke down.  Today, Russia, the world's largest nation, imports most of its beef.

Right now, Russia's beef herd is less than one percent the size of the American herd, despite - as Stevenson points out - the country's abundant land and water.

"[There is a] tremendous opportunity in this country in terms of the vast resources," noted Stevenson.  "[There exists a] tremendous amount of available ground, whether it is tilled or not."

Last year, Stevenson imported by ship and by air cargo jet 1,400 black Angus cows from Montana, in America's west.

A few months ago, they had their first calves, born in the black earth country of Russia.

Stevenson, along with two Russian businessmen, has set up a ranch with the goal of establishing a commercial beef herd in southern Russia.

Stevenson says Russia's long term goal is to achieve self sufficiency in meat production - pork, chicken and beef.

"We are helping establish a local beef herd, a regional beef herd, and eventually a national beef herd," added Stevenson.  "With that comes the sideline of educating a labor force."

Viktor Korovkin grew up near here and saw a string of outsiders come and strip assets from the village's old collective farm. When the American-Russian joint venture started here, he was hired as a guard. Now, he is the head ranch hand.

He says the American ranching technology is more modern than the Russian technology he is familiar with.

Ekaterina Zimina grew up in St. Petersburg, Russia's second largest city. Trained as a veterinarian, she worked last year on Darrell Stevenson's Montana ranch to learn American artificial insemination and calving techniques.

She says Russians are used to working with dairy cattle confined in barns, not beef cattle on the open range.

"It is really hard to find good enough people who can work with beef cattle," said Zimina.  "Russia is world-known as dairy country.  We have lots of dairy herds, dairy cows, but managing dairy and beef cows is a totally different thing."

With Russia determined to become self-sufficient in food, more and more investors are making the drive south of Moscow to see this new American-run ranch.

With plenty of cheap land and a longer growing season than much of American cattle country, Ekaterina believes many more Russians will soon be riding the range.

"We can show these people that this is not something from the movie: cowboys really exist and it's a really hard job, and it is possible to do this in Russia," added Zimina.

As Russia works to regain its food independence, Russians soon will be eating steaks from Black Angus raised here on the black earth of southern Russia.

You May Like

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid