Friday, August 8, 2014

Russians impose Import BanBy Tammy Scardino
Russian government officials said "niet" to select Idaho products Thursday.
It is the latest power play in an economic struggle between the U.S. and Russia.
So, now farmers are stuck in the field wondering where to sell their produce.
"Our biggest impact in Idaho is on those growing bean, legumes, peas," said Jake Putnam with the Farm Bureau Federation.
Idaho farmers who won’t be affected by the ban are those who grow anything other than beans and legumes. Cattle producers also escaped the ban.
While Idaho was not hit the hardest, according to Laura Johnson with the Idaho State Department of Agriculture, this is not the kind of news state officials want to hear.
"One of our most successful governor's trade missions ever with ‘Butch’ Otter over a year ago was into the Russian market,” Johnson said. “We made great contacts and the middle class was expanding rapidly with a growth opportunity projected to last a number of years."
Farmers who know a thing or two about the market place are used to being put in this predicament.
"Right now they're scurrying to find other places to sell these products,” Putnam said. “And, they'll find them. But, they're probably not gonna have the prices they hoped for."
Johnson indicated that Idaho exports to Russia were the 14th largest in the market last year, which equates to $16 million dollars worth of gross product. She is thankful that livestock was left off of the ban list.
"It's very unfortunate that now we are in the middle of a political crisis," she concluded.
The ban went into effect on Aug. 7 and will remain in place for one year.
Farmers seeking more information should get in touch with state agriculture department representatives.

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