KDA Participates in Ag Trade Mission to Uruguay

A team of Kansas beef cattle producers traveled on a state-sponsored trade mission to Uruguay in September, where they visited with the current president and two past presidents of the Uruguay Charolais Association (from left): Enrique Crotto, José Boismenu, Megan Larson, Shirley Acedo, Horacio Bianchi Jr., Gerri Schumacher, Kelly Younkin and Horacio Bianchi Sr.
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MANHATTAN, Kan. — In September, the Kansas Department of Agriculture participated in a trade mission to Uruguay, where the team attended the Rural del Prado 2019, the most prominent livestock show in the country. In addition, the Kansas delegation had the opportunity to meet with officials from the U.S. Embassy and visited three ranches in western Uruguay: El Caballero, Durazno; Rincón de los Tapes, Durazno; and Curupí del Salvador, Mercedes.

Representing Kansas on the trade mission were: Megan Larson, Fink Beef Genetics, Olsburg; Gerri Schumacher, Schumacher Trust Ranch, Hays; Kelly Younkin, Smoky Y Ranch Red Angus, Oakley; and Shirley Acedo, KDA agribusiness development coordinator.

Uruguay is a relatively small beef producer especially when compared to its neighbors, Brazil and Argentina. Despite its status as a small producer, Uruguay has strict sanitary protocols and an extensive traceability system and is well positioned as a leading exporter of beef to markets such as China and the EU. Because of this, Uruguayan breeders are expected to continue to enjoy higher-than-normal returns in 2020. During this time of profitable production, cattlemen in Uruguay are seeking improved and diverse genetics — Kansas producers see this as an excellent export opportunity.

“The Kansas Department of Agriculture provided the opportunity to meet face to face with producers from Uruguay, which is more personable than communicating via email or phone,” said Larson. “It was a way for me to learn more about their type of cattle and provide insights on the advantage of Kansas genetics to their operations.”

Younkin agreed. “I greatly appreciated the opportunity to make this very informative trip to Uruguay. I believe Smoky Y could extend the phenotypic strength of Uruguayan beef cattle while infusing genetic diversity, which matches the core values of Smoky Y Ranch.”

“Trade missions like these are vital to connect Kansans with export opportunities. Trade is contingent upon relationships which are essential to trade exploration and growth,” stated Acedo. U.S. total exports of agricultural products to Uruguay totaled $77 million in 2018. Over the past 5 years, Kansas has exported nearly $1.4 million in agricultural commodities to Uruguay, primarily residues.

The trade mission was organized by KDA and the U.S. Livestock Genetics Export, Inc. 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 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 suzanne.numrich@ks.gov or 785-564-6704.