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Got Milk?

11:35 AM, Feb 2, 2012 • By VICTORINO MATUS
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Last year, Russia imported 55,000 live cattle to help beef up its dairy herd, which has been in serious decline since, well, since collectivization efforts first began under Stalin. As Laura Vozzella of the Washington Post points out,

Instead of raising dairy cattle for milk and beef cattle for meat, Soviet collective farms had “dual-use” cattle, which would be milked for a while, then killed for meat, [Valery Osipenko of Vistar Farms in Mechanicsville, Va.] said. Those one-size-fits-all cattle may have embodied an egalitarian ideal, but both milk and meat were mediocre, said Osipenko, a native of Ukraine who recalled his mother boiling beef for hours in a fruitless attempt to tenderize it.

Virginia ranchers have finally worked out their own deal with the help of Governor Bob McDonnell, and 29 Holstein bulls have gone over to Russia to mate with their counterparts. An additional 30 are headed there in April in the hopes of boosting dairy output: "Russian farmers are trying to improve dairy herds that produce an average 7,000 pounds of milk per cow each year, said ... Osipenko.... Top-quality American Holsteins produce an average of more than 20,000 pounds of milk per year," writes Vozzella.

But from what I hear, not all of the Virginia bulls are happy. Some have complained that the cows they're supposed to mate with look nothing like the ones in the catalog.

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