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Ukraine Study Tour: Photos to Download
Most urban Ukrainians live in Soviet-era high-rise apartment buildings like this one on the outskirts of Kiev, the capital city.
Monastery of the Caves in Kiev is a sprawling complex central to Eastern Orthodox Christianity since its founding in 1051 A.D.
The 200-foot Motherland statue towers over Kiev at the National Museum of the Great Patriotic War, commemorating Ukraine’s sacrifices in World War II.
USDA Agricultural Attaché Randall Hager briefed study mission participants about Ukraine’s challenged, bipolar agricultural economy.
Agricore Holding's diverse farm operation includes 6,200 head of beef cattle that fatten in feed lots and on natural pasture across northern Ukraine.
A crew of grizzled Agricore field hands tend red Simmental cattle on natural pasture land, camped in a repurposed military transport.
Michigan farmers Bruce Lewis and Doug Darling admire some stylish whitewalls during a spontaneous fieldside "inspection" of a Ukrainian farmer’s John Deere rig.
John Deere equipment is very popular among Ukrainian farmers, but faces stiff competition from more affordable brands like Claas.
MFB President Wayne Wood converses with Ukraine Milk Company’s general manager of over the finer points of soybean meal and other feedstocks.
Onaway cattleman Jeff Kala does a quick fodder check at Ukraine Milk Company, the nation’s largest dairy farm.
Similar to large American dairies, Ukraine Milk Company exemplifies the growing segment of commercial farms increasing their share of the nation’s total farm output.
Ukraine Milk Company’s manure-fueled biogas plant generates 510,000 kilowatts per hour, powering the farm with juice to spare.
Because it’s so hard to find adequate, qualified milkers, Elita Ltd. anticipates going robotic when it expands to 2,000 head in the coming years.
Elita Ltd.’s swine barns look old-school on the outside, but inside are thoroughly modern accommodations to keep 5,000 pigs healthy and comfortable.
Two of 500 employees bag piglet feed for Kiev-Atlantic's core customer base—thousands of household farmers who generate more than half of Ukraine’s agricultural output.
Operations Director Irina Bulavka explains the reach of Kiev-Atlantic’s American-style agriculture across central Ukraine.
Inside the control room of Kiev-Atlantic’s huge grain elevator, workers manage the flow of 100,000 tons of grain and oilseeds raised by 200 contracted farmers.
Kiev-Atlantic’s sprawling warehouse provides storage for its packaged animal feeds, custom formulated for domestic livestock animals, from poultry and goats to swine and sheep.
Soybean harvest was under way when the study tour visited the Corporation of AgroIndustrial Enterprises, which combines dairy and beef cattle, crop production and feed milling.
MFB President Wayne Wood chats with Kaplun Nikolay, who turned an old collective farm near his home town into a prosperous agribusiness with 22,000 cropland acres and 450 employees.
Kaplun Nikolay has shared his prosperity with his home town, and is particularly proud of funding the restoration of this Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
On the fertile plains of central Ukraine, Corporation of AgroIndustrial Enterprises raises corn, soybeans, wheat, barley, sugar beets, buckwheat, rapeseed and sunflowers.
Ropa's facility near Mankivka is heated by water from this boiler, fueled by round bales of wheat straw—an abundant, affordable commodity in Ukraine.
MFB President Wayne Wood and Eaton County grain farmer Brett Roberts check out a German-made Ropa self-propelled sugar beet harvester.
Ropa’s implement sales and service business centers around the company's sugar beet equipment, like the harvester this technician is wrenching on.
The farming side of Ropa-Ukraine grows sugar beets, soybeans, rapeseed, wheat and sunflowers on 3,750 acres leased from residents of the neighboring village, Polkovniche.
Polkovniche’s bus stop is typical of the thousands of unique shelters found everywhere in Ukraine, sometimes well-maintained, sometimes near ruin.
Polkovniche center, the main village hall, is now a community center and historical museum.
Polkovniche center: “Built in 1967 in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the October Revolution and establishment of Soviet authority in Ukraine.”
The Polkovniche post office is guarded by a pair of diligent goats, one of which is pictured here.
Since 1999 the Zhashkiv stud farm has provided a posh home for world-class horses and their owners; amenities include two indoor arenas, complete with giant mirror ball.
German horse breeds like Holstein, Westphalian and Warmblood dominate the top-shelf breeding stock at the Zhashkiv stud farm in central Ukraine.
Hanna Lavrenyuk has her work cut out for her managing a new pork producers' association given the catastrophic collapse of Ukraine's swine industry in past 20 years.
Dykun Lyubomyr directs the 125-member Ukrainian Dairy Producers’ Association, established four years ago to serve the nation's growing commercial dairy sector.
With 86 acres under glass, Uman Greenhouses operates three giant facilities in as many Ukrainian cities, growing tomatoes, cucumbers and other staple vegetables.
Uman Greenhouse managers say their best workers come from nearby villages; younger, urban Ukrainians don’t want tedious jobs packaging vegetables.
MFB Commodity Manager Bob Boehm and Michigan Corn Growers' President Jeff Sandborn check out an ear of field corn in one of rural Ukraine's countless and immeasurable fields.
In one of few non-agricultural stops of the study mission, participants toured a Soviet-era missile site, now a museum of Cold War armaments.
A decommissioned ICBM missile silo in the Ukrainian countryside offers haunting testimony to the legacy of ‘mutual assured destruction.’
Study mission participants agreed touring a mothballed Cold War missile base provided one of the week's more sobering experiences.
Pidgurievske fruit ranch combines fruit orchards with cereal grains on 1,800 leased acres, and features two uniquely Ukrainian apple varieties, Simarenko and Florina.
Founded in 1844, the National University of Horticulture at Umon is one of Ukraine’s top farm schools, with an enrollment of 7,000 students from across the country.
Even in Ukraine’s vast plains, American-style grain bins are a rare sight; most on-farm storage amounts to little more than loose, indoor piles of dry grain.
In southern Ukraine’s dry Kherson region, AgroTechnological uses equipment imported from the U.S. to farm 10,000 acres of wheat, corn, soybeans and sunflowers.
Ukraine leads the world in sunflower and sunflower oil production; most of the 2013 crop was approaching harvest-level dryness in mid-September.
Chumak’s 300 employees make a variety of processed foods, dominated by tomato-based products like seasoned cooking sauces, catsup and tomato sauce, paste and juice.
At the peak of the tomato harvest, Chumak’s Kaxobka plant in southern Ukrainian runs 24-7, processing 1,800 tons of tomatoes daily.
Chumak's cavernous warehouse stores thousands of pallets of finished, packaged product awaiting direct distribution to retailers across Europe.
Built in the mid-20th century, a massive network of canals diverting water from the Dnieper River irrigate farmland in Ukraine’s dry southern regions.
Most of Ukraine’s livestock production consists of small groups or animals, often tethered individually by the roadside and tended by one or two villagers.
Roadside marketers across Ukraine sell onions, tomatoes, peppers, melons and garlic, purchased from wholesalers or directly from farmers.
For every half dozen fresh vegetable stalls at this roadside market, there was one selling strings of dried fish. Yum.
Rural Ukrainian entrepreneurs complain about governmental indifference and interference, such as signs and barriers that deter motorists from soliciting roadside markets.
On the Black Sea coast in southern Ukraine, Odessa’s deep-water seaport is a vital transshipment hub, and the final domestic destination for most agricultural exports.
The Port of Odessa is the third largest on the Black Sea, and capable of hosting the largest breed of oceangoing vessels—Panamax-class cargo ships.