Farming Makes a Comeback in Russia
Investors are pouring billions into agribusiness—and trying to reverse decades of Soviet mismanagement
by Jason Bush
USMAN, RUSSIA Under a baking sun, two green combine harvesters trundled across a vast expanse of yellow barley, unloading their grain into waiting trucks. It was a bumper harvest in Usman, a rural district some 300 miles south of Moscow. Yields of barley almost doubled this year. And there was plenty more to come. On the endless plains of southern Russia this summer, wheat, corn, and sunflowers towered high above the rich black soil for mile after mile.
Just four years ago the same fields sprouted nothing but wild grasses. Although this land had been farmed for centuries, the tradition nearly died out in the 1990s. The Soviet kolkhozy, or collective farms—hardly paragons of agricultural efficiency—went bankrupt as communism collapsed, and villagers abandoned the land. "When Gorbachev came to power, everything began to fall apart," says Alexander Gulov, a former boss of a collective farm in Usman. Read More
The natural resources in the former Soviet Union are said to be incredible. And after years of neglect, agriculture is all but starting over in that country. Having all of these productive areas of the world in food production will be pivotal to feeding our growing population.