In September, the Kansas Department of Agriculture participated in a trade mission to Uruguay, where Kansas purebred beef cattle producers had the opportunity to research and develop new markets for beef genetics. They attended Expo Prado, the most prominent livestock show in Uruguay, to understand the quality of the beef cattle and to network with Angus breeders who were at the show. In addition, the team took several tours to see how U.S. beef cattle genetics are working in production systems in Uruguay.
The team representing Kansas on the trade mission included: Gene Barrett, Barrett Cattle; Joe Carpenter, Downey Ranch, Inc.; Kevin Kniebel, Kniebel Cattle Co.; and Shirley Acedo, KDA advocacy, marketing, and outreach.
“I really enjoyed visiting with the semen company representatives to hear their thoughts on what their customers’ demands are,” said Kevin Kniebel. “We were able to maximize our time spent with companies and producers.”
Uruguay has become an importer of Kansas products in recent years. In 2017, Kansas exported over $100,000 of goods to Uruguay, much of which were animal products, which includes genetic material such as bovine semen or embryos. The team learned that cattlemen in Uruguay have expressed a preference for Angus genetics; 60 percent of the cattle in Uruguay are Angus.
“Our Kansas beef producers were able to explore several cattle ranches in the northern and western parts of Uruguay,” said Acedo. “They gained a good perspective of the importance of rotational grazing in the relation to the profitability of the local beef industry as well as the significance of U.S. genetics to the improvement of their cow herds.”
The trade mission was organized by KDA and funded through U.S. Livestock Genetics Export, Inc., using funding through the Market Access Program. USLGE is a nationwide livestock-specific, not-for-profit trade association representing the International Market Development interests of the U.S. dairy, beef, sheep, swine, and horse breeding industries. KDA strives to encourage and enhance economic growth of the agriculture industry and the Kansas economy by exploring and expanding both domestic and international marketing opportunities. The Kansas Ag Growth Project identified beef cattle international market development as a key component for state growth.