U.S.-Russia Workshop on Aquaculture and Fish Health
From October 1 – 4, USDA’s Agricultural Research Service held a U.S.-Russia Workshop on Aquaculture and Fish Health in Seattle, Washington, which was made possible through State Department funds under the BPC’s Agriculture Working Group.
The workshop was divided into three fora: Emerging and Established Diseases; Disease Surveillance, Diagnostics, Prevention and Control; and Synthesis of Fish Health Management and Implications for the Future.
The Russian scientists came from a variety of locations – the Far East, Western and Central Western, and Southern regions. U.S. scientists represented the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Department of Commerce (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) and Department of the Interior (U.S. Geological Survey).
Participants noted that both countries face similar threats and must develop systematic plans for responding to their aquatic species’ diseases. Opportunities were identified for future collaborative development on diseases in sturgeon, salmon, and trout. Participants agreed that joint risk analysis and open management of disease outbreaks would afford experts in both countries the chance to build experience and expertise in dealing with disease outbreaks. Participants identified an additional joint need for full development and implementation of a National Aquatic Animal Health Plan, including developing opportunities for the United States, Russia, and possibly Canada to work together on such plans.
Agricultural Working Group meets in Kazan, Russia
On May 30, USDA’s Deputy Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Darci Vetter and Russian Deputy Minister of Agriculture Oleg Aldoshin held an Agricultural Working Group meeting in Kazan, Russia on the margins of the APEC Food Security Ministerial Meeting where they discussed the current trade relationship between Russia and the United States and Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organization. Russia proposed setting up a joint working group on new and emerging animal diseases. USDA will host a joint U.S.–Russia workshop on aquaculture and fish health in October 2012. On June 1, Deputy Under Secretary Vetter participated in the Working Group’s Best Practices in Agricultural Sustainability Program when she visited a farm in Tatarstan with Iowa farmers and representatives from Russia’s Farmers Union.
Russian Biotech Experts Finish Visit to the United States
On March 3, Russian experts in biotechnology completed a three-week visit to the United States under an International Visitors Leadership Program (IVLP) on "Agricultural Biotechnology for Economic Growth and Food Security." One Russian participant described the program as rich, interesting, and practical, applauding the large number of both scientific and economic analytical materials from USDA and other USG sources. As a representative of a non-governmental organization in Russia, he found it especially useful to learn how U.S. farm bureaus are organized and how they interact with the government. A second participant valued learning about the use of biotech crops and the U.S. regulatory system, particularly how biotech crops are registered in the United States.
Russian Senators Meets U.S. Department of Agriculture Staff
On December 15, 2011, Foreign Agricultural Service Acting Administrator and BPC Agriculture Working Group Coordinator Suzanne Heinen met with Russian Senators Vladimir Plotnikov, Aleksey Chernyshev, and Bato-Zhargal Zhambalnimbuev in Washington, D.C. Discussion centered on the U.S.-Russia Business Council Forum on Russian Agribusiness in Omaha, Nebraska, which the Senators had attended earlier in the month as well as the possibilities for further agricultural cooperation between the two countries, such as farmer-to-farmer exchanges and food security collaboration.
Russian Agricultural Experts See U.S. Farming
In partnership with the Iowa Farm Bureau, Iowa State University, and the Russian Farmers Union (AKKOR), the U.S. Department of Agriculture conducted the first phase of the “Best Practices in Agricultural Sustainability” program from August 29 to September 6. Four Russian agricultural experts traveled to Iowa and Illinois to learn about U.S. agricultural technologies and practices. Participants attended the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation Summer Policy Conference and visited the Monsanto research facility in Huxley, Iowa. They also toured the Farm Progress Show in Decatur, Illinois, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, and Iowa State University Extension and Research facilities. Their trip included a three-day home stay with Iowa farm families, where the participants experienced family farming in the United States and the everyday life of U.S. farmers.
Russian Delegation Looks at Outreach Efforts and Animal Health
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) hosted three Russian officials from the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) on August 15 and 16 in Washington, D.C. On the first day of the visit, the officials toured Maryland farms to learn about animal genetics in the United States. On the morning of August 16, they toured the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s National Center for Animal Health and Emergency Management and attended an emergency outbreak simulation exercise. Afterward, the MOA officials met with the USDA’s animal health team to discuss cooperation in that field. In the afternoon, MOA Assistant Minister Bobkov discussed MOA’s information operations and possible areas of cooperation. As the visit concluded, the officials met public affairs officers from the USDA, Foreign Agricultural Service, Food Safety and Inspection Service, and Natural Resources Conservation Service to learn more about how they utilize social media outlets as well as radio and video broadcasts.
Secretary Vilsack and Minister Skrynnik Discuss Cooperative Agricultural Agenda
Secretary Vilsack and Minister Skrynnik met via a digital video conference to discuss U.S.-Russian cooperation in agriculture in 2010. The two sides discussed cooperation in food security, veterinary sciences, and domestic nutrition programs. The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced its intentions to commit funding received from the State Department to support research in diseases in aquaculture and exchange programs in sustainable agricultural technologies in 2011. Russia’s Ministry of Agriculture expressed its desire to establish a regular forum for collaborating in the veterinary and phytosanitary sciences. Both sides agreed that their coordinators will meet soon to plan next steps for the working group in 2011 and to discuss the Russian invitation to hold an AWG meeting in Russia in December 2011.
U.S. and Russian Forestry Agencies Set Agenda for Exchanges
The Deputy Chief of the U.S. Forest Service visited Moscow on December 13 to discuss forestry management issues with the Russian Federal Forestry Agency (RFFA). In light of the August 2010 forest fires in Russia and the subsequent reorganization of the RFFA, the two Forestry Agencies shared information on wildfire management and response efforts and agreed to reciprocal seminars and exchanges on forest monitoring and inventory, forest regeneration, reduction of illegal logging, and fire management. The delegation, together with representatives from RFFA, also visited the Republic of Tatarstan to see first-hand a network of new seed production and nursery facilities created in response to the fires and to explore other possibilities for future cooperation.