the republic logo

Official: Idaho agriculture industry unharmed by Russian embargo on food


TWIN FALLS, Idaho — A state agricultural official says Idaho's $17 million in annual agriculture exports to Russia are not likely to be affected by the country's recent ban on U.S. food.

Laura Johnson, the market bureau chief for the Idaho State Department of Agriculture, told The Times-News ( ) that 90 percent of what Idaho sends to Russia is live dairy cattle, which are exempt from the embargo.

Earlier this month, Russia suspended food imports from the United States, Canada, the 28-nation European Union, Norway and Australia for a year in retaliation for sanctions imposed on Russia related to the conflict in Ukraine. The ban, which was announced by Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Aug. 7, affects meat — including all forms of beef, pork, poultry, smoked foods, sausages, fish — vegetables, roots, fruits, nuts and all dairy products.

Russia is the 14th largest market for Idaho's agricultural exports, and live dairy cattle make up $15.1 million in receipts. Idaho farmers also send seed potatoes to Russia, but they are also exempt from the embargo.

Oakley cattleman Kody Beck has sent thousands of Holstein heifers from Idaho to Russia in the past five or six years. He also sends cattle to Egypt, Kazakhstan and Turkey.

"The last couple years, the market has been very, very strong," Beck said.

The process works like this: Beck buys young dairy heifers, mostly from California, and then trucks him to one of his feedlots in Cassia County to be impregnated. Typically a delegation of Russians comes to Idaho to choose heifers from Beck's herd, and then the chosen animals are quarantined for three weeks before they make the 21-day trek to Russia on a ship.

Heifers sent to Kazakhstan, between Russia and China, are trucked to Chicago and flown out of O'Hare International Airport — 180 cows at a time.

Information from: The Times-News,

Think your friends should see this? Share it with them!

Story copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Feedback, Corrections and Other Requests: AP welcomes feedback and comments from readers. Send an email to and it will be forwarded to the appropriate editor or reporter.

We also have more stories about:
(click the phrases to see a list)


Follow The Republic:

All content copyright ©2014 The Republic, a division of Home News Enterprises unless otherwise noted.
All rights reserved. Privacy policy.