Itinerary: The 26-day Russian Farming tour arrives and departs from Moscow. The itinerary covers Moscow the nation’s cosmopolitan capital for 3 nights; Krasnodar home to the Kuban Cossacks and known as the “Granary of Russia” divided by the Kuban River into plains, the exotic landscapes of the Black Sea coast and the stunning Caucasus Mountains for 2 nights; Stavropol where dual-purpose Russian Merino’s are bred, 70% meat, 30% wool for 2 nights; Volgograd formally Stalingrad for 2 nights where during World War II was fought the largest and bloodiest battle in the history of warfare; Kamyshin for 1 night; Saratov in the basin of the middle Volga River for 2 nights; Balashov for 1 night; Voronezh known for its rich black soil for 2 nights; Kaluga to visit an Angus Genetics centre for 2 nights; St. Petersburg a culture centre housing part of the State Hermitage Museum’s art collection and founded by Peter the Great for 3 nights returning to Moscow for a further 2 nights.
Russia: The world’s largest nation, borders European and Asian countries as well as the Pacific and Artic oceans. It has a population of 145 million and its landscape ranges from tundra to forests with 122 million hectares of arable land as compared to Australia’s 50 million ha. Russia is emerging as a superpower in global food supply thanks not only to climate change but applied EU and USA sanctions for the recent annexation of the Crimean region and alleged interference in the 2016 US presidential election. While food sanctions have no doubt been a setback to Russia’s economy it has stimulated their agricultural sector which is said to be booming and their goal is to feed the world. Currently they are in the process of building nearly 800 new large-sized dairy farms designed for at least 3,000 cows and Russia is currently importing from Australia Angus cattle and Dorper sheep. Countries with a scarcity of food are also investing in Russia’s agricultural sector simply to protect themselves. Russia’s prospects at becoming the world’s biggest wheat exporter and a grain superpower are bright as they have already in place more than sufficient arable land with water, technology and infrastructure. Russia conjures up some well know names to many people such as Ivan the Terrible and Peter the Great from ancient history lessons whereas modern history lists Lenin, the rise of Stalin, Nikita Khrushchev who gave the world the KGB, Brezhnev, Gorby, Boris Yeltsin and today Vladimir Putin from a spy of the Kremlin to golden boy. Who can forget reading Leo Tolstoy’s “War & Peace” of Napoleon’s fatal Russian campaign of June 1812 and hearing about the World War II siege of Leningrad in 1941 and the Nazis defeat at Stalingrad that followed shortly after? Russia is now one of the world leaders in the production of oil and natural gas and a major exporter of iron ore, copper, coal, diamonds, gold, silver and other mineral raw materials and has more than 5% of the world’s coal reserves estimated to be more than 200 billion tons. Rich in uranium Russia is one of the world leaders in power generation and electricity is produced at thermal, nuclear and hydroelectric power stations and exported in significant quantities to Finland, Lithuania and China. Their transport system is one of the most extensive in the world with 120,000 km of railways and 1 million km of roads. Russia has about 10% of all arable lands in the world located mainly in the Central Volga region, the Northern Caucasus in Southern Russia, the Urals and Western Siberia. With the US-China trade war thousands of hectares of land in Siberia have been leased to Chinese farmers to ease Beijing’s soybean shortage. Russia is a major exporter of agricultural products and a world leader in wheat exports. The main crops are cereals, sugar beet, sunflower, soybean, potatoes and vegetables. Russia’s main livestock products produced are beef meat, pork, poultry, milk, eggs, wool and honey. The food industry is well developed and at this point in time is mainly oriented towards the domestic market but all that is about to change. Other important sectors apart from oil and agriculture are metallurgical production, chemical production and engineering for defence, automotive, railway and agricultural machinery.
Highlights: The tour has been designed as a business trip and may qualify as a tax-deductible expense, however, it is not all work and no play as the tour includes leisure and sightseeing to provide a well rounded itinerary of on-farm and technical visits as well as including many of Russia’s major tourist attractions such as Red Square, the Kremlin Armory, Bolshoi Theatre, Lenin’s Mausoleum, St. Basil’s Cathedral known for its colourful onion-shaped domes and much, much more.
Tour Cost: Flying with Singapore Airlines from Melbourne, Adelaide, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth the tour cost of $14,970 is inclusive of all airfares, coach, rail and air travel within Russia, accommodation share twin room in 3 to 4 star hotels and all breakfasts, 12 lunches and 19 dinners. The cost also includes tipping within Russia and carrier imposed charges, airport taxes and fees. The single room supplement is $2,320.
Tour Leader: Ted Gretgrix has recently retired after a lifetime of farming in western and central Victoria and with over 20 years as executive officer of the Rural Financial Counselling Service. Ted was a tour member of the 2008 Australian Farmers 21-Day China & Inner Mongolia Tour. In 2014 he undertook the 18-Day Australian Farmers Japan Farming Tour. In 2016 Ted led the highly successful 36-Day Australian Farmers Great Britain & Ireland Farming Tour and in 2017 led the 29-Day Central European Farming Tour and in 2019 the 18 Day China & Inner Mongolia Farming Tour. Ted will be accompanied throughout the tour by his wife Liz.
About Us: Australian Farmers Travel, registered in Victoria and owned and operated by Andrew Curry is Australia’s leading agricultural tour operator. It commenced in 1973 as a service to primary producers and shareholders of the then major rural co-operatives Victorian Producers’ (now Elders), Westralian Farmers (Landmark), Primaries (Elders), Gippsland and Northern, Bennetts Farmers and Farmers & Graziers. Our tours offer more than just travel as each tour is uniquely planned to provide something special, a careful blend of agricultural and horticultural visits, sightseeing and free time. Our world wide program of tours offers you the chance to see how farming is practised in every sort of climate and condition. In addition, all our tours provide a sense of fellowship and the chance to meet other farm families from all over Australia. Friendships formed on an Australian Farmers Tour often last a lifetime. We value the loyalty of our past tour members and appreciate the fact that many of them continue to book with us year after year. We feel this is a mark of the quality of our tours and tour leaders and we will continue to strive to attain the high standards that we set ourselves.