Stevenson Angus Ranch and Holden Herefords announce they have successfully exported a herd of cattle to Russia.
The last of the bovines were herded to the Russians in mid-December in a mixture of bulls, cows to Stevenson Sputnik Ranch in Russia.
Exporting livestock internationally is not uncommon, with thousands of cattle, horses, sheep, hogs and exotics on the move from country to country daily, but his shipment stands alone as one of the largest of registered cattle in history.
"These cattle are fully pedigreed and the Russian buyers intend to manage them as such," says Darrell Stevenson of Hobston, Mont. "Our Montana cattle will be the foundation of Russia's future beef industry."
Montana Gov. Blain Schweitzer says the large purchase reflects the worldwide reputation of Montana's livestock breeders. "Montana has some of the best cattle genetics in the world," he notes. "This is a great example of the demand for the kind of high quality genetics produced here in Montana."
The Russian Federation suffers from a beef crisis today. Estimates put the national beef cowherd at 600,000 animals. Per capita, that's one cow for every 237 people. The U.S., by comparison, has 90 million beef cattle, or one cow for every 3.5 people.
But appetite for beef is keen in Russia.
The historic shipment took six weeks to complete, beginning with 545 head exported on a boat from Wilmington, Del., and arriving at Novorossiysk, Russia, on Dec. 16 last year.
The remaining 889 head were flown on six chartered 747 airplanes departing Chicago's O'Hare International Airport to Moscow. The shipments were timed to arrive so the bred heifers and cows have a chance to acclimate to their surroundings before calving season.
The first Russian-born calf from the shipment was expected to arrive on New Year's Day this year.