ALBERT CITY - Ringsted-area farmers Jim Boyer and Jay Gunderson were among those visiting with a contingent of Russian farmers and Iowa Rep. Steve King Wednesday night near Albert City.
The meeting was held at the home of Farm Bureau District 3 Director Phil Sundblad of Albert City. The Russian group was AKKOR, their equivalent to the Farm Bureau in the US, Boyer said.
The session was an informal gathering with no specific agenda other than an interaction between Iowa and Russian farmers, according to Gunderson.
Ringsted area farmers met with a delegation of Russian farmers near Albert City Wednesday night. From left are Jay Gunderson, Ringsted; Senator Vladimir N. Plotnikov, AKKOR president and member of the Council of the Federation of the Russian Federation (Upper Chamber of the Russian Parliament) and member of the Committee on Agriculture Food Policies and Land Stewardship; Congressman Steve King; Jim Boyer of Ringsted; and Svetlana Maksimova, private farmer, member of the Russian Duma (Lower Chamber of the Russian Parliament) and member of the Agrarian Committee of the Duma, Tver Region.
Boyer said the group, which included farmers active in Russian politics, was particularly interested in US ag subsidy programs.
Boyer said local farmers pointed out to the Russian delegation that just 15 percent of money in the Farm Bill goes to farmers with the rest going to food safety. "We just try to explain that to them," Boyer said.
Another area in which the foreign guests was interested was technology.
"They were amazed at the technology," Boyer said of the group that had toured an ethanol plant, hog confinement, elevator and wind farm.
Boyer, who has toured Russian agriculture with his wife, Lisa, with the Farm Bureau, said large-scale farms there are usually run by the government, and a person might see a relatively new John Deere tractor with horses used to farm a neighboring field.
Boyer said subjects such as protectionism and trade wars were skirted over Wednesday night in the interest of making the meeting friendly and informative.
"It was a goodwill ambassador sort of thing," Boyer said.