BISMARCK, North Dakota (AP) — Hundreds of North Dakota cows bred to withstand brutal cold are being shipped in jumbo jets to Kazakhstan to help build the nation's beef industry.
Bill Price, president of Bismarck-based Global Beef Consultants LLC, said it's the second year of a 10-year agreement with the former Soviet republic's government.
"They like our northern genetics," said Price, who also is a rancher.
Most of the cattle are coming from North Dakota ranchers, with some originating from surrounding states, he said.
"We'll keep sending them cattle as long as they keep sending money," Price said of the oil-rich nation. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Most of Kazakhstan's cattle were sold or slaughtered after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, and its herd had been reduced from about 35 million animals in the early 1990s to about 2 million.
North Dakota is known for its harsh winters and hardy livestock, Price said. North Dakota cows typically have thicker coats and more marbling and fatty tissue, state agriculture officials say.
More than 2,600 pregnant cows and heifers were shipped last year on Boeing 747 freighters from North Dakota to Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, Price said. About the same number of cattle are slated to be shipped this year, he said.
The Angus and Herford cows are loaded in wooden pens in the bellies of jumbo jets for the 22-hour flight to Astana, with a stop in Belgium, he said.