FARGO, N.D – A delegation of 15 ranchers, farmers and cattle owners from Kazakhstan are touring North Dakota this November as part of an educational reverse trade mission organized by the North Dakota Trade Office (NDTO). The Kazakh delegation arrived in North Dakota Nov. 10 and will be visiting ranches throughout the state before departing on Nov. 22, 2012.
“Livestock is an exciting component of the diverse export industry in North Dakota,” said Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley. “Our state is blessed to have the resources to provide one-stop-shopping for international purchasers of commodities, machinery and intellectual know-how. We are building the foundation for an even more robust export industry for North Dakota.”
A number of delegation members have purchased North Dakota cattle or are in the process of buying livestock from the region. The reverse trade mission is focused on hands-on training from North Dakota ranchers to assist Kazakh cattle owners in properly handing cattle from the Midwest United States. In addition to hands-on training, the delegation visited the North Dakota State University Beef Research department and the Carrington Research Extension Center for educational tours.
“Kazakhstan is a very important market for North Dakota agriculture, specifically in the livestock industry,” said Dean Gorder, executive director of NDTO. “As with any successful trade relationship, prior to and after sales it is necessary to continue to share information about the products being exchanged. In the case of livestock, thousands of head of North Dakota cattle have already been successfully exported to Kazakhstan. Now these buyers and ranchers are returning to North Dakota to observe handling and ranching techniques and will take applicable tips back to their country.”
More than 5,000 Angus and Hereford cattle have been flown from Fargo to the former Soviet Republic countries, including Kazakhstan, with deals of thousands more in the works. The first shipment of cattle from North Dakota flew to Kazakhstan in 2010; in 2011, livestock exports from North Dakota to Kazakhstan doubled.
The Kazakhstan reverse trade mission is part of a larger strategy to promote North Dakota’s high quality products in key international markets throughout the world. According to U.S. Department of Commerce statistics, North Dakota’s merchandise exports have grown nearly 235 percent since the conception of NDTO, from $1 billion in 2004 to $3.4 billion in 2011.
NDTO is a member-based organization that provides education, research, advocacy, organization and leadership so that North Dakota companies can develop and expand their export business. NDTO is a public-private partnership, led by a board of directors, chaired by North Dakota Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley.