Long-range goals show Russia will cut beef imports and produce more home-grown beef with the right cattle breed and an experienced Oklahoma cattle rancher.
With an annual bill of $3 billion, Russia is the world’s largest importer of beef. President Vladimir Putin wants to cut imports by producing 85 percent of Russia’s meat needs within the country by 2020.
Bloomberg reports Anthony Stidham, a 48-year-old third-generation rancher from Oklahoma, is sharing his knowledge with Russian producers to boost local beef supplies. Stidham was recruited to the country’s largest beef farm located 400 kilometers southwest of Moscow after responding to an ad in a farm publication.
Stidham is adjusting to Russia’s climate which is drastically different from Oklahoma. Temperatures in Russia dip to minus 35 degrees Celcius and finding a cattle breed who could thrive in those conditions was a challenge. Aberdeen Angus were selected because they can adapt in any climate. The country has already received 60,000 Aberdeen Angus cattle from the U.S. and Australia.
Beef demand in the country is growing along with a expanding middle class. Moscow has added more than 30 steakhouses since 2004 and annual beef per capita consumption is set to rise according to the Moscow-based National Meat Association.