I just returned from a trip to Russia, and the experience was truly eye-opening. There has been a lot of talk about Russia’s efforts to grow and expand its cattle industry. Russians have been big players procuring both commercial and seedstock genetics from the U.S. and it is a country with vast potential. They are utilizing our best genetics, equipment and technology, and they have our lessons to draw from which allows them to skyrocket forward. At the same time, it is little like the Old West in some regards. The potential to build great empires is there, but there are also significant challenges that must be overcome.
Russia is uniquely positioned to compete in the European and Asian markets, and has tremendous natural resources. The potential is great and there are well funded/capitalized players that are aggressively trying to grow and modernize their industry. We have been trained in the cattle industry to think in terms of having only three major competitors: North America (Canada and Mexico), South America (primarily Brazil and Argentina) and Australia. In the short-term, Russia will continue to be a great customer, but I suspect at some point we will be adding competitor number 4.
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