Russian delegates to tour several Sunnyside businesses

A group of delegates from Russia will be spending the day in Sunnyside and Grandview on Friday, July 1. The group, which is made up of Russian farmers, will be touring the Cow Palace Dairy operation, Valley Processing and Snipes Mountain Brewery.

The delegation, which will be in the area for several days to visit growers and businesses in the United States to learn more about operating in a free market society, are being hosted by the Downtown, Southwest and Sunrise Rotary clubs of Yakima. The Rotary clubs have organized a trip that will take the delegation to visit growers, farmers, warehouses and other businesses throughout the area through July 10. During that time they will be involved in a very intensive agriculture business-training program.

But during their stay, members of the delegation will have a chance to do more than just take in the local agriculture industry. The group will also take part in a training program which will include a business plan writing seminar, financial planning help and a chance to look at farm equipment, fertilizer, crop protection products and other related supplies.

"The emphasis of this program is to give these people some first hand experience they can take and adapt to their businesses in Russia to make them more efficient and to improve their economy," said Ken Smith of Yakima, the local tour coordinator.

Smith explained that the U.S. Department of State funds half of the delegation project based on the belief that the best way to counteract political instability in Russia is to improve the standard of living of Russian citizens.

"They have lived under Communism for three generations and missed out on the world's experience starting businesses, developing products, marketing them and creating infrastructure to support private enterprise," Smith said. "Russian citizens need market driven economy know-how."

The tour is part of a national program, administered by the Center for Citizen Initiatives, that brings non-English speaking Russian business owners and managers to the U.S. to receive business training. Since inception the program has trained more than 4,000 Russian delegates from various industries in 350 U.S. cities.

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