WASHINGTON – The US Department of Agriculture announced Nov. 29 that Michael Scuse, Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services, will lead a mission to promote US agricultural exports to Russia, Dec. 3-7. Representatives from the states of Idaho, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma and Kansas, as well as 23 American companies will attend. This Russia trade mission is the second major USDA agricultural trade mission this year for US companies. A trade mission to China was held in March.

Companies attending the Russia trade mission represent a wide variety of agricultural products including cattle, meat and poultry, fruit and nuts, consumer-oriented products and more.

USDA's goal is to provide participants with first-hand market information, access to government decision makers and one-on-one meetings with business contacts, potential agents, distributors and importers so they can position themselves to enter or expand their presence in the Russian market.

US companies participating in the trade mission include Alltech, Inc., Case New Holland, Cuba Beverage Company, Commercial Lynks, Inc., Erie Foods International, Food Source, Inc., Garuda International, Inc., Holder Brothers Beef, Idaho Potato Commission, IMG Citrus, Intervision Foods, Landi Organic Baby, Missouri State University, Mixes, Inc., National Raisin, Ocean Spray International Services, Original Juan Specialty Foods, Pan-European Trade Enterprises, LLC, Rabbit Creek Products, Stamey Cattle Company, LLP, Stunning Global, LLC, Thorn Creek Insurance Services and United Dairymen of Arizona.

Agricultural trade between the United States and Russia was valued at roughly $1.5 billion in fiscal year 2012, with American farm exports accounting for 97 percent of the total — a significant contribution to the US agricultural trade surplus.

"People around the world continue to demand US food and agricultural products, boosting American businesses and supporting our rural communities," Scuse said. "To ensure these successes continue, USDA has aggressively worked to expand export opportunities and reduce barriers to trade. Fewer restrictions abroad, stronger trade deals for US agriculture, and greater export assistance for US businesses supports more than 1 million Americans jobs in industries from packing and shipping, to food processing, to transportation. This is an American-made success story that we're bringing to Russia and many other nations demanding the highest-quality, American-grown products."