The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced the United States will begin exporting breeding cattle, bovine embryos; breeding, fattening and slaughter swine; and breeding and sport horses to Russia.

Russia will accept cattle born on or after implementation of the United States' 1997 ruminant-to-ruminant feed ban.

"Russia's decision demonstrates our trading partners' confidence in our ability to effectively protect animal health and food safety," said Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer. "This decision opens up a new market for U.S. livestock producers, and we are pleased that such an important trading partner is looking to the United States to help establish a significant livestock market."

Russia is turning to the world market to import livestock and genetics to restore its livestock herd, which has been declining during the last 15 years.

The value of these new markets for U.S. exporters is substantial. The new live animal protocols will allow U.S. exporters to participate in Russia's $300 million market for live animal imports.

USDA has worked closely with Russia and other trading partners to establish full market access for U.S. livestock. USDA will continue to encourage other countries to take steps to align their requirements with international standards.