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Tracy Frank, Published January 16 2010

Model North Dakota farm to help Ukraine

A partnership between a Ukrainian agriculture company and North Dakota agribusinesses has been formed to market North Dakota products in Ukraine and help farmers there improve production.

A model North Dakota farm is being built in central Ukraine and will showcase, demonstrate and sell North Dakota equipment and supplies. Ukrainian Agriculture AB will operate the farm.

“Developing this model farm is a natural progression in our continuing efforts to expand North Dakota’s global reach and generate export sales that help drive our state’s economic growth,” Lt. Gov. Jack Dalrymple said Friday at a news conference at Northern Crops Institute on the North Dakota State University campus.

Construction has started on a customs-bonded warehouse. Plans are to send over seed and equipment now in time for spring planting, said Jeff Zent, North Dakota Trade Office communications director.

The warehouse will streamline shipments of equipment, supplies and parts and will double as an equipment showroom.

Ukraine is one of the world’s highest-demand markets for large-scale farm technologies, a news release said. The North Dakota Trade Office has helped local companies enter that market and it’s paying off, Dalrymple said.

“Our agribusinesses are having tremendous success,” he said.

The eastern European country has the same soil types, grows the same crops, and faces the same weather conditions as North Dakota. The planting and harvest times are also typically the same.

“We should have in Ukraine the same beautiful results you have here,” said Alex Oronov, Ukrainian Agriculture AB president.

Companies will work with the trade office and Ukrainian Agriculture AB on marketing events to draw prospective buyers from throughout Ukraine.

The companies participating in the model farm so far are Brandt Holdings of Fargo, Summers Manufacturing of Devils Lake, N.D., Seeds 2000 of Wahpeton, N.D., S-M International of Moorhead, Unity Seed of Casselton, N.D., and Amity Technology of Fargo.

“If (Oronov) can get this to work, it’s going to make agriculture in the Ukraine much more successful, and we hope to be a part of that,” said Dave Morken, Unity Seed Co. manager. “Our goal is to get a conventional bean to kick a little butt over there.”

Oronov is in North Dakota this week to finalize partnership terms.

“I think we could do a great deal of business for North Dakota production companies in the Ukraine,” Oronov said.

He said the genetics of seeds he can get in North Dakota are much better than what Ukrainian farmers are using, and he expects yields to be 40 to

50 percent higher with the North Dakota products.

The country is also transitioning from old equipment to newer models.

“We know that eventually in the long haul, the Ukraine will get the equipment they need. We want our North Dakota companies to be the ones to benefit from these opportunities,” Dalrymple said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Tracy Frank at (701) 241-5526