Russia Now Open To Canadian UTM Beef

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The Russian government has finalized an agreement on a certificate granting immediate market access to Canadian bone-in beef from animals under 30 months old (UTMs).

The certificate, which follows through on an agreement in principle negotiated during a June mission by Canada’s International Trade Minister Stockwell Day, comes with an agreement to work toward similar status for boneless beef from cattle over 30 months old (OTMs).

An OTM deal “will give Canadian ranchers and dairy farmers another market for cull cows,” Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz said Oct. 13 on a media conference call from Moscow. “There’s some homework left to do in Russia, but we received firm commitments that this tremendous progress will continue.”

An OTM agreement is expected to be finalized by year’s end, Ritz said.

The two countries have also agreed to have technical officials work “within this calendar year” toward granting Russian importers access to Canadian beef offal, Ritz said.

The Canada Beef Export Federation (CBEF) has previously estimated the value of restoring exports of UTM and OTM beef combined at up to $32 million, the government noted in a release. CBEF also estimates reopening the Russian market to Canadian offal will be worth up to $10 million.

As well, Russia, which is expanding its sheep and goat production, will grant market access for high-quality Canadian small ruminant breeding stock. The Canadian Sheep Federation has estimated the Russian market to be worth up to $8 million over three years.

Ritz’s mission has also paved the way for other deals for the Canadian beef sector. Saskatchewan-based Hawkeye Land and Livestock signed a deal to ship up to 10,000 head of purebred beef breeding stock to the Russian-owned Northern Agro Industrial Co.

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