Rocky Barker in China: Otter sells hay, pregnancy tests to dairy

rbarker@idahostatesman.comJune 7, 2010 

Gov. Butch Otter started his trade mission Monday seeking to expand hay sales to a dairy company.

Otter had already helped Larsen Farms of Dubois, Idaho sell the Shanghai Bright Dairy Corp. its high protein hay on his last trade mission in 2007. He was back with Richard Larsen and Bob Bishop of Larsen Farms to see if they could change the packaging so they could supply the ultra modern high tech dairies even more.

Otter peppered the dairy executives with questions about butterfat content, anaerobic digesters and tax incentives. And he offered Larsen advice how to present his case based on his years of experience marketing agricultural products. Stay tuned.

Another Idaho company that signed up late but came along for the ride hopes Otter's personal seal of approval closes the deal for them. BioTracking, of Moscow, which sells pregnancy tests for cows, found great interest from the Chinese in the test Nancy and Garth Sasser developed.

The test has a 99 percent accuracy rating and knowing when a cow is pregnant is critical to productivity for a dairy farm. In 2003, they sold 16 tests.

This year they expect to sell 700,000 tests. And if Nanc'‚s instincts are right Shanghai Bright might become their newest customer.

"They're ready to buy," Dr. Sasser said. "Being able to tie in with the Governor's trade mission has been very rewarding for us."

Pitching for Orphans Otter also put in a pitch to the dairy executives for a Moscow-based charity that helps orphans in China find homes. The Grace and Hope Foundation helps place orphans in foster homes in Naning, a city in the Guangxi province. Curt Braun, a Moscow consultant, adopted his daughter from there and now serves as its chairman of the board. Learn more at

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