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Ranch goes global with sale to Russia

Staff writer

The fledgling beef production industry in Russia is getting a boost from Harms Plainview Ranch of Lincolnville through its sale of approximately 70 head of registered Angus breeding stock to a Netherlands-based broker.

“Russia is where they’ve told us they’re headed. They’re trying to create a beef industry of their own that is sustainable, and they’re kind of at ground zero,” ranch owner Mark Harms said.

Harms said he first took interest in international live stock sales 2½ years ago through conversations with the Kansas Department of Commerce, but the volatility of the market didn’t provide an opportunity to do so until now.

“One week they’ll have requests for a certain class of cattle, and the next week they don’t want them anymore,” Harms said. “It’s a moving target.

“This time some things lined up that were different than in the past, things came together, and the cattle got shipped. The whole thing start to finish we pulled off in a week.”

A phone conversation with the broker last week reinforced the timing of the deal.

“They’ve already quit buying that class of cattle,” Harms said.

Harms’ ranch has done business internationally through the sale of semen and embryos, but this is the first live stock sale executed.

One critical element that sealed the deal is that Harms didn’t have to wait for delivery of the cattle to be paid. The brokerage he worked with purchased the cattle outright and will negotiate their sale to Russian buyers.

“That was an advantage of doing homework in discussions with the people at the Department of Commerce,” Harms said. “As far as our business is concerned, the transaction is completed already.”

The cattle are tagged with two different forms of identification, and Harms hopes the Russian buyers will use those to track the performance of his stock.

“I assume they will get a wide variety in quality and genetics. Hopefully these cattle will separate themselves, and if they’re useful they’ll come back for more,” Harms said.

The cattle won’t arrive at their final destination for several months.

“The heifers that we loaded here will be in quarantined in Kansas for a period of 60 days, then they move to Galveston, Texas where they’ll be quarantined,” Harms said. The process allows multiple opportunities for veterinarians to evaluate the stock, as well as time to cope with the array of regulations applicable to international livestock commerce.

Harms said lessons learned from this transaction will benefit him in future opportunities.

“Our thoughts were let’s get involved in the process so we could gain some education. When the next one comes around we’ll have more foresight on how to do things, what expectations they have and what expectations we should have,” Harms said.STAFF PHOTO BY JENNIFER STULTZ

As illustrated on this farm ground near Limestone Road west of Peabody, wheat is finished and corn is coming on strong. Wheat results from last week produced all-time highs in bushels taken to area storage facilities. If the weather cooperates, corn yields look to be on the same early and prolific patterns as wheat for the year.

Last modified June 21, 2012

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