Friday, November 25, 2011

Professor Isabekov's Traveling Dog and Pony Show

My trip to Kazakhstan, along with that of an American counterpart, was to add profile and entertainment to a series of 10 seminars held between November 9 and 23 across northern Kazakhstan promoting the expansion of their beef industry.  An organization called KazAgroMarketing has been charged with promoting beef cattle production and with providing technical information to assist producers to expand and improve their cow herds. This was the third series and one more will be held in the new year.  They had hoped for attendance of about 80 at our seminars but averaged half that.

Kazakhstan used to have a big beef industry but after the collapse of the Soviet System, cows were sold off to generate cash and the numbers plummeted, similar to stories in all the other SSRs.  Kazakhstan has 150 million hectares of pasture land (including mountain and desert grazing areas, I think) and grows a lot of grain each year which is a long way from tidewater.  They are surrounded by countries that need to import beef including Russia (for now at least), China, Iran, Pakistan, Iraq... so it is a no-brainer to support beef industry expansion.  And every beef genetics salesman in the world is in Kazakhstan.

On the map below, the black stars are where we stayed - Astana, Kokshetau, Kustanay, Petropavlovsk and Karaganda.  The red stars are the locations of the seminars that I could find on Google Maps.  Several of the villages were too small to even get honourable mention. We would hit the road at 6 or 7 am and drive to the village, grab breakfast and set up the meeting room.  Seminar ran from 10 to 1, then we would have lunch and drive another 30 minutes to a farm. There we would view their Kazakh white head cattle, and the American would demonstrate AI technique and ultrasound pregnancy testing.  The American did it because he could else they would have had their own vet do it.  We would get back to our hotel anywhere from 6 to 8 pm most days.

Professor Isabekov, fearless leader and excellent speaker
Dr Dan Larson, Minnesota, Nutrition and Reproductive Physiology

Front - Baurzhan, veterinarian and Balzhan, translator. Back - Kadyrzhan, nutritionist and Bayan, administration


  1. Sounds like you had a good trip, and I'm glad you're safe at home again. By the way, I referred to you on my blog recently. It was the post that had "religious/spiritual" in the title.

  2. Snowbrush, I am still catching up on backlog blog but will get to yours. thanks for the (honourable?) mention.

  3. Two of my coworkers are from Kazakhstan. They say the apples are amazing but no word on beef. Maybe that is why.

  4. PV, thanks for dropping by. Apples were first grown in Kazakhstan they say. The Kazakhs also claim to be the second largest per capita consumers of meat on earth, wolves being first. But it is mostly sheep and horse meat these days. Beef will come again slowly, I am sure.


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