Thursday, December 1, 2016

Help wanted: U.S. cowboys. Must relocate to Russia

Above: a versatile Russian Lada automobile
transports a load of hay

Russia, which has lots of dairy cows but few others, is looking to beef up its livestock by jumpstarting its cattle operations by importing thousands of cows from America and elsewhere, thereby skipping a hundred years of U.S. breeding to make animals specifically for beef.
     By copying the structure of Western beef operations, Miratorg skipped more steps. Miratorg is single-handedly trying to create an American-style beef industry, but in a very condensed time period. It now has about 400,000 cows, the largest herd in the world. The company has had to build fences in a country without any, to train veterinarians, and to also import everything from horses and grass seed to tractors. But the hardest part of managing this immense operation is not the science or the planning.
     It’s finding workers. Cowboys.
     So the company imported some of them, too.
     One of them, Shawn Weekes, has been in Russia for two years. He’s a fourth-generation, Montana-born cowboy with a great, big mustache, Western boots, a hat, and a tucked in button up shirt. “I grew up doing this,” he said. “A rope was actually my first toy."
More at Newsworks... Or at NPR. Or the New York Times.

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