Over the past several years, the dairy farm sector from the Southeastern European sub region has significantly increased its demand for high quality U.S. semen and embryos. According to recent Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) - published data, the share of U.S. genetics in Bulgaria in 2016 was estimated at about 50 percent of the total bovine genetics market, reaching $500,000 USD, followed by a 27 percent uptick in the first quarter of 2017. Neighboring Romania’s dairy industry is on the same upward trend.
In an effort to increase the market share for U.S. agricultural products, the regional FAS in Warsaw, Poland initiated and conducted a road show focusing on the developing dairy sectors in Bulgaria and Romania. Because high quality animal genetics go hand in hand with high quality ingredients, USSEC was invited to join the FAS activity promoting U.S. bovine genetics, best feeding practices, and soy and soybean derivative products.
The “Advances in Dairy Breeding and Nutrition” FAS Roadshow was held on April 20 in the Dobrich area of northern Bulgaria and on April 23 in Bucharest, Romania. A full conference day followed by intensive visits at modern dairy farming operations took place in each country.
U.S. dairy genetics and nutrition expert Jay Weiker, President of the National Association of Animal Breeders, and Scott Jensen, Extension Educator from Idaho University, introduced the latest advances and trends in genetics, technologies, and best practices to the Bulgarian and Romanian dairy farmers. Conference participants showed particular interest in high-tech dairy and beef cattle genetics from gnomically tested bulls.
USSEC consultant Iani Chihaia joined the group of conference speakers to introduce U.S. Soy’s quality and value to the Bulgarian and Romanian dairy farmers. His presentation focused on pelleted soy hulls as a high quality fiber, and dry extruded full fat soybean meal and mechanically processed bypass soy protein for dairy and beef feeding.
The farm visit workshops facilitated ample interactions between U.S. experts and dairy farmers, openly discussing cattle breeding, herd management, and nutrition.
The animal farming and feed industries from Bulgaria and Romania continue to be best prospect sectors for U.S. exporters, thanks to the competitive advantages of the local farming economy and a favorable trade regime with no import duties and a steady growth demand for food from the export and local markets.
Judging from the interest shown by the dairy farmers in U.S. genetics and soy and from the large amount of interactions during the conference and field days, the activity in Bulgaria and Romania proved to be a success and a base for future follow up activities. USSEC should continue to work closely with FAS to capture market opportunities in Southeast Europe’s livestock and feed industries.