By: M. Doyle Sanders; International Committee Vice Chair for Europe & Asia
DBL D BAR Beefmaster Ranch of Industry/ New Ulm, Texas has successfully completed EU permit approval and shipped 67 Beefmaster embryos from our ranch genetics to Kafkas University in Kars, Turkey. The tank of embryos arrived in Istanbul Airport on January 15, 2021. The Turkish Ministry of Food, Agriculture, & Livestock (MinFAL) granted final import permit approval under European Union regulations. This will allow a new Beefmaster project to proceed under the guidance of Dr. Yavuz Ozturkler- Professor of the Veterinary & Animal Science Department at Kafkas University in the Kars Province of Eastern Turkey. The embryos will be used to develop the foundation Turkish Beefmaster herd for cross breeding with other native cattle such as European Limousin, Charolais, Simmental and Dairy Cattle.
This project has taken four years from the first introduction into Turkey with the dedicated assistance of the Ankara Office of the USDA FAS & US Embassy Ag Attache. USLGE has assisted BBU in funding articles and presentations to educate the Turkish beef industry on American beef genetics. This has included focus missions to Texas for senior MinFAL officials and key Veterinary Geneticists. These missions included a delegation to the Texas A&M University Beef Cattle Short Course, visits to feedlots, packing plants, and genetic collection centers in Texas. Other European Beefmaster breeders helped with field days near Rome, Italy to show key Turkish breeders live Beefmasters and discuss the potential benefits for Turkey. Dr. Robert Wells of Noble Foundation and Dr. Joe Paschal of Texas Agrilife served as lecturers at the Rome field days and helped host during the Turkish visits to Texas.
For several years, Turkey has been the largest importing country in the world for feeder cattle with annual imports exceeding 600,000 head from Europe and South America. In 2018, the Turkish Red Meat Producers Association Board of Directors recommended that Beefmasters become the national beef breed of choice for Turkey. The Annual Association Meeting membership along with the Turkish Minister of Agriculture accepted this recommendation for the cattle industry’s future with Beefmasters. With the official introduction and Ministry approval procedures for accepting Beefmasters into the Turkish national herd, Kafkas University stepped in to manage the project of establishing the foundation herd in Kars.
The Kars Province in Eastern Turkey is known as “Cattle Country” in Turkey. As the foundation herd develops at Kafkas University, their genetics will become distributed to other parts of Turkey to demonstrate adaptability to severely harsh environments and to educate the farmers on the expected benefits of this unique breed. USDA FAS Ankara will monitor and report project progress as an example of the American Agriculture industry reaching out to help international friends and neighbors. DBL D BAR Beefmaster Ranch and BBU will continue to support this important project for our friends and international neighbors in Turkey and the surrounding regions of Europe and Asia.
Special thanks to Dr. Anne Bea Kulp of Kulp Genetics in Manheim, Pennsylvania, who supervised the collection and processing of these EU qualified embryos at OvaGenix ET Lab and completed the documentation for export to strict Turkish ET requirements. The genetics import firm of Anadolu Hayvancilik in Istanbul coordinated with the Turkish MinFAL and managed the tank import procedures through final customs clearance and delivery to Kafkas University. Sinem Duyum, USDA FAS Ankara office, helped clear the final hurdles for final customs acceptance of the USDA health certificates to allow first time entry of this new breed to Turkey. We look forward to seeing some Beefmasters on the ground by the end of 2021.