MANHATTAN, Kan. — In early December 2019, the Kansas Department of Agriculture and American International Charolais Association hosted a delegation of Costa Rican beef sector stakeholders. The delegates were nominated by the Costa Rican National Institute of Innovation and Transfer in Agricultural Technology (INTA) and included: Allen Monge, Lajitas de Buena Vista S.A.; Juan Carlos, Perla del Río Góngora Co.; Ronnie Cobb, Biofeed Genética; and Franz Heinsohn, Pradera del Norte. KDA was represented on the trade mission by Suzanne- Ryan Numrich, international trade director, and Shirley Acedo, agribusiness development coordinator. David Hobbs, director of activities, represented the American International Charolais Association (AICA).
The reverse trade mission was the result of a joint project that INTA, AICA, the Montana Department of Agriculture and KDA have been working on since early 2013. The main objective of the project was to improve and expand the Costa Rican beef cattle herd while increasing the opportunity for the sale of U.S. beef cattle genetics.
The multi-year project used Charolais and Red Angus semen for artificial insemination of native Costa Rican cattle, primarily Brahmans and Nelores, to create F1 crosses. Performance data including birth weight, weaning weight and carcass weight were collected on the calves in order to compare the U.S.-sired calves with the Costa Rican-sired calves.
“The U.S.-sired calves had faster rates of growth and higher quality carcasses compared with the native calves,” reported Ryan-Numrich. “Higher quality beef is increasing in popularity because of a growing number of middle-class consumers and booming tourism sector. By utilizing U.S. genetics to produce F1 crosses, Costa Rican cattlemen can improve the efficiency of their calves while producing more desirable and higher quality beef.”
The team started the reverse trade mission by attending a beef cattle industry educational seminar at AICA and ended the week at the Wright Charolais 9th Annual Female Sale in Kearney, Missouri. Other ranch visits included: Cody Cattle Company, Scandia; Fink Beef Genetics, Randolph; Hubert Charolais Ranch, Monument; Mushrush Ranches, Strong City; Nextgen Cattle Co., Paxico; Overmiller Red Angus and Gelbvieh, Smith Center; Schrader Ranch, Wells; Schumacher Trust Ranch, Hays; Smokey Hill Charolais, Hays; Smoky Y Ranch Red Angus, Monument; and T&S Strand Charolais, Formoso.
“The trade mission provided the Costa Rican cattlemen an opportunity to view Kansas beef cattle genetics in working ranch environments. Kansas seedstock producers that hosted the cattlemen provided answers to many questions from the delegation — from calving ease to feedlot performance,” said Hobbs. “From my point of view, the Costa Rican cattlemen traveled home with solid interest in utilizing Kansas seedstock genetics to improve the efficiency and performance of their bos indicus based cowherds.”
The trade mission was organized by KDA and AICA and funded in part by U.S. Livestock Genetics Export, Inc. (USLGE). 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 the beef sector as a key component for state growth.
KDA is offering two upcoming opportunities to Kansas farmers, ranchers and agribusinesses to participate in State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) grant trade missions planned for 2020: VICTAM Asia/Petfood Forum Asia, Bangkok, Thailand, March 24-26; and NAMPO Harvest Day, Bothaville, South Africa, May 12-15. Interested persons should contact Suzanne Ryan-Numrich at firstname.lastname@example.org or 785-564-6704.