In much of the United States, running out of milk means a quick trip to a local grocery or convenience store, but in a desert nation that has no dairy industry of its own, things are a little more complicated (and expensive). The nation of Qatar, a small, peninsular country that borders Saudi Arabia finds itself in need of dairy ASAP, and will air-lift 4,000 cows from the United States and Australia to meet the need, NPR reports. The cows will be transported to Qatar by airplane in a series of shipments that could take up to 60 flights to accomplish.
The feat will not be cheap: NPR reports that transporting the cows by air will cost a whopping $8 million USD. But Qatar is the wealthiest nation on the planet (it’s GDP as of 2015 was $141,542), so footing the bovine bill won’t be an issue.
The country finds itself in dire need of a new supply of dairy due to strained relations with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, according to NPR. Unable to grow much their own food, Qatar has relied heavily on imports from other nations to keep their grocery shelves stocked. But Just last week, all five of the previously mentioned countries cut ties with Qatar, leaving the small country without a steady supply of foodstuff.
And this is where the cows come in. Once they arrive to Qatar, the cows will live on a site with ample sheds to house the cows, and large strips of grass. Milk production is set to begin really quickly, too. According to NPR, the cows should be producing milk by the end of July, and one third of the country’s milk demand should be met by the middle of July.
Chairman of Power International Holding, the company handling the cow shipment, Al Khayyat, tells Bloomberg that the government is hard at work to make sure the average citizen of Qatar is not impacted by being cut-off from major food exporters. And yeah, it sounds like spending millions to fly thousands of cows thousands of miles definitely counts as working hard.