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Livestock producers learn about exporting breeding stock, genetics at webinar

Amy Hadachek
for The Fence Post
A livestock export webinar held early in October hosted by the Kansas Department of Agriculture provided speakers who shared information about how livestock producers can get involved in the export market, learn about regulatory requirements and other aspects of global marketing opportunities.
Photo by Amy Hadachek

Cattle producers in Kansas, Nebraska and other states have increased market opportunities for exporting quality breeding stock and genetics. There is a global need for all types of livestock, however in Kansas, a key focus is on exporting beef cattle and beef cattle genetics.

A livestock export webinar held early in October hosted by the Kansas Department of Agriculture provided speakers who shared information about how livestock producers can get involved in the export market, learn about regulatory requirements and other aspects of global marketing opportunities.

Exports are vital to the Kansas economy. Agricultural exports from Kansas (to nearly 100 countries) were nearly $4 billion in 2019.

Regarding the specific cattle breeds in demand, the webinar speakers either represented, work with (export or assist with the export process for) most all breeds of livestock, including Wagyu, Simmentals, Angus, Charolais, Black Herefords, Herefords, Gelbvieh, Red Angus, Fleckvieh, Brangus, with the exception of (Kansas Artificial Breeding Service Unit). KABSU primarily deals with beef cattle. The presenters also represented the swine, equine and sheep industries.

The export market is also considered a great opportunity for dairy cattle, with lots of dairy cattle being exported from all over the world, said one webinar speaker, who is a market analyst. “Dairy cattle are now going to Asia, also from the U.S. to the African continent including Morocco and Egypt. Also, Pakistan is a fairly new market,” said Tony Clayton of Clayton Agri-Marketing Inc., based in Jefferson City, Mo.

Clayton said there is also an expanded market for goats both for meat and milk (like the Boer goat, and traditional goats breeds). “We’re seeing quite a bit of international interest.”

“I think the best aspect (of this online session,) for me is the ‘reach’ we got with participants from 13 states and one foreign country. We initially planned to hold the Livestock Marketing events in Hays and Manhattan, Kan., before COVID, and we wouldn’t have had close to that number of participants,” said Suzanne Numrich, the international trade director for the Kansas Department of Agriculture.

TAKEAWAYS

Key highlights from the Livestock Export Webinar:

By 2050, the world population is forecast to grow to nearly 10 billion (9.5 billion). As the middle class grows, there will be more demand for higher quality protein and other food products, which is an encouraging sign for livestock producers and others.

U.S. genetics are becoming increasingly attractive to international customers interested in adopting our genetic systems.

For livestock producers taking on exports, it’s recommended you know your limitations — know what can you supply, deliver, finance, guarantee and service and it is helpful to be flexible when things change.

Webinar participants learned where to locate export requirements and more about USDA service centers (see website links below).

Speakers reminded participants of the importance of knowing the country of interest before collecting semen, embryos, or oocytes (a cell in an ovary undergoing a process).

Webinar participants learned more about the export facilities operated by the Texas Department of Agriculture, which are frequently used by Kansans to export livestock to Mexico.

U.S. members/exporters of U.S. Livestock Genetics Export, Inc. are matched up with international producers and provided access to international trade leads from around the world.

“We (USLGE) act as a liaison with USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service and we make different market access and foreign market development programs available to our members,” said Martin Sieber, president and CEO of USGE, which is a non-profit trade association based in Mount Horeb, Wis. Members are also in the embryo and semen industries (American Embryo Transfer Association) National Association of Animal Breeders, livestock export (Livestock Exporters Association of the U.S.) various state agriculture departments, and also in industries including Clayton Agri-Marketing, DBL D Bar, Moreno Ranches, Santa Elena, Sexing Technologies, Simplot and Trans Ova Genetics.

U.S. genetics are a value-added product, Sieber said. “International customers want to adopt our genetic systems and they are very interested in U.S. training programs that are practical and useful.”

Currently, Sieber said, they have 13 different states as members: Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin.

OPTIONS

With quality local animals being sought to meet consumer demands, there are a couple of options, Sieber said. “Importers can choose either ‘live’ U.S. animals or germplasm. USLGE also offers agricultural training.” In addition to it’s interest in the various beef categories, USLGE also has dairy cattle members with these breeds: Ayrshire, Brown Swiss, Guernsey, Holstein, Jersey and milking Shorthorn.

To help livestock producers in the member states get started, Sieber recommends:

“Browse our website http://www.uslge.org and send possible inquiries to uslge@uslge.org, which we will send to our members.”

Also, to help producers locate export requirements and for more information about USDA service centers, go to the USDA-APHIS website at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/importexport.

To further understand the export process, producers can learn many aspects from selection to shipment, and take advantage of resources available to them through USDA, including through U.S. Livestock Genetics Export, Inc., Kansas Department of Agriculture or their state department of agriculture.

Members representing the different breeds of horses include American Miniature, American Paint, Appaloosa, Arabian, Clydesdale, Florida Thoroughbred, Kentucky Thoroughbred, Quarter Horse and Tennessee Walker.

The livestock market opportunities are also a pathway for communities, as agriculture is a big part of the Kansas economy, directly contributing $46 billion. Communities benefit when farmers and ranchers, as well as people in agribusinesses make a sale or diversify their income stream because of it. Speakers noted that one good decision follows another, and this is a special opportunity for cattlemen and cattlewomen to ride herd into a market opportunity that they previously hadn’t tried.

Officials from the Kansas Department of Agriculture learned about the need to export genetics when trade teams visited Kansas seedstock operations. “During the visits, we noticed that some of the ranchers (who had indicated they wanted to export) were struggling when they had inquiries about purchasing their live cattle or genetics,” Numrich said.

Producers said that the information presented helped re-direct their concerns and to focus on ways to propel their goals in the export market. The speakers helped accomplish that task, and other producers are also willing to help in the process.

“Kansas producers are very open to sharing what they know,” Numrich said. Producers who are new to exporting, are encouraged to talk with people in the industry, to not be afraid, and know there are a lot of resources to help them.” ❖

— Hadachek is a freelance writer who lives on a farm with her husband in north central Kansas and is also a meteorologist and storm chaser. She can be reached at rotatingstorm2004@yahoo.com.


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