Amid the meadows and pastures of western Russia are a quarter-million young beef cows that produce high-quality beef. Most of the cows are commercial purebred Angus, sourced mainly from the U.S. over the last eight years and spurred by Russian loan subsidies aimed at building a modern food supply chain. A large share of these beef cows belong to Miratorg Agribusiness Holding.
Now, through a partnership with Miratorg, the Certified Angus Beef (CAB) brand has begun production and sales in Russia, according to CAB president John Stika.
Founded in 1995 in Moscow, Russia, and already a leader in pork and poultry, Miratorg company executives researched beef production systems. They were familiar with CAB but also learned more about the brand during visits to the U.S. that included shopping for Angus genetics and training sessions about American ranch management.
According to CAB director of industry information division Steve Suther, CAB became a logical end target for the North American-style plan Miratorg announced in 2009 as it began to build dozens of cattle ranches south of Moscow in the Bryansk region. The leadership team reached out to CAB in 2011 to explore mutual opportunities, which have been discussed in CAB board meetings since 2013.
“The decision to expand beyond North America for the first time was not taken lightly, but we found much in common,” Stika said. "It’s rare to have the opportunity to engage with people starting from scratch, and while this partnership has great potential for Russian agriculture and consumers, it stands to strengthen the global reach and reputation of the Certified Angus Beef brand.”
CAB board chair John Pfeiffer of Mulhall, Okla., said the decision is “a natural fit” — good for the brand and for breeders alike. “This whole initiative started when Miratorg began building a herd based on superior Angus genetics from the U.S., and now, they are an active member of the American Angus Assn.,” he said.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) estimates that more than $300 million in U.S. beef cattle sales to Russia occurred over the last five years — most of it in 2012. Another 80,000 beef cows are expected to enter the country this year.