CLEVELAND – A unique collaboration between the Cleveland-based Ohio-Israel Agricultural Initiative of The Negev Foundation, The Ohio State University, and the Beef Cattle Breeders Association of Israel will soon improve the quality of beef produced in Israel.
The project, which is funded by the Ohio-Israel Agricultural Initiative, involves the sharing of agricultural ideas and technology between Ohio and Israel, specifically, it involves the export of superior bull semen from Ohio to Israel and the insemination of Israeli cattle.
Alternative. The resulting calves will provide Israelis with an alternative to the mostly imported beef they now consume.
“This initiative is one of four bi-national research and development projects that are currently being funded by the Ohio-Israel Agricultural Initiative,” said Sarah Horowitz, program director of the Ohio-Israel Agricultural Initiative of The Negev Foundation.
“The project encourages researchers in both Ohio and Israel to share their knowledge and expertise about the cattle industry in their respective countries, which will create a better beef product for Israeli consumers as well as the opportunity for cattle farms in Israel to compete with the import of cattle and beef from other countries.”
During the past few years, the consumption of fresh beef has grown significantly among Israel’s population, resulting in the import of feeder calves from Australia.
Importing genetics. Although the American beef market is interested in exporting cattle to Israel, the country currently prohibits the import of live cattle from the U.S. With this in mind, the Ohio-Israel Agricultural Initiative has partnered with the Beef Cattle Breeders Association of Israel to pursue the import of cattle genetics and increase beef production in Israel.
Last fall, Fernando Silveira, an assistant professor of veterinary medicine at OSU, and Gene Steiner, a livestock management consultant with GSM Inc., Mason, Ohio, traveled to Israel to meet with members of the Beef Cattle Breeders Association of Israel – Benny Sharir, a veterinary surgeon, and Meori Rosen, a cattle researcher at the Extension Service of the Israel Ministry of Agriculture, who helped them select the cattle that will participate in this program.
Now, Silveira and Steiner are preparing to return to Israel, where they will work with Sharir to inseminate the selected cattle herds.
In addition to the export of cattle genetics, the American team has introduced Israeli cattle breeders to several new technologies that will make it easier and more efficient for them to prepare their cattle herds for artificial insemination.
“Many new products have been developed to help breeders synchronize a cattle herd’s estrus cycle,” Steiner said. “With this technology, a breeder can inseminate most of his cows in one day – which saves time and results in more early-season pregnancies, as well as bigger calves. Bottom line, this technology will help you generate more dollars from your calf crop.”
During their upcoming trip to Israel, Silveira and Steiner will help their Israeli colleagues inseminate approximately 900 cows with the semen of select Black Angus, Red Angus and Hereford bulls.
Once the calves are born, researchers will monitor their growth and evaluate them for their production characteristics and meat quality.
The calves will eventually be sent to a slaughterhouse in the nearby town of Beit Shean, which was built specifically to handle the influx of calves from these inseminations.
“The Negev Foundation is proud to be a part of this historic project,” said Sam Hoenig, president of The Negev Foundation. “This is the first time in the history of Israel’s cattle industry that cattle genetics from Ohio are being used to inseminate Israeli cows. We expect the project to yield significant results.”
Ohio-Israel Agricultural Initiative. The Ohio-Israel Agricultural Initiative was established in 2002 and is funded by a special federal grant. It is dedicated to improving agricultural trade and research and development ties between Ohio and Israel by working with government, academic, and business entities and growers in both regions.
The objective of this initiative is to foster greater collaboration between Ohio and Israeli government and research institutions, farmers, and companies; develop joint research and development educational activities; identify agribusiness ventures based on new technologies; introduce potential investors; and expand commercial ties and market access in both regions.
Several projects are currently being pursued, and others are in different stages of development.
Details. The Negev Foundation (www.negev.org) is a Cleveland-based, nonprofit organization dedicated to insuring Israel’s future through the development of the Negev Desert region in Israel. The foundation oversees numerous international projects involving joint research and development programs, agritechnology and trade.
For more information, contact Sarah Horowitz at 216-691-99
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