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Friday, January 7, 2011

ILSSO > Steak, Sun, and Struggling Farmers

Bienvenidos a Rosario, Argentina!

We started yesterday off bright and early to our first authentic Argentine breakfast. Then, we departed Buenos Aires for Pergamino to visit Alejandro Calderon at his livestock and row crop farm. There he told us about his rotational grazing practices with his red and black angus beef herd.

He has discovered that raising bulls for stock is much more profitable than selling a finished animal. He also explained to us his cropping system, which includes a winter and summer rotation of corn, soybeans, wheat, and green peas. Soybeans are their preferred crop, even though there is a 35 percent export tax on anything that is sold. This tax seems to be just one of the many governmental regulations that Argentina farmers struggle with on a day-to-day basis. Even so, Alejandro has been successful with his cropping operation and has expanded to include for-hire crop services.

During the heat of the early afternoon, we broke for lunch at the fairgrounds of the Sociedad Rural. Here we were treated to a three course meal. At first we were given a meat tray that we mistook for the main course. After accidentally loading up on bread and Coke, we were than treated to a large, delicious Argentine steak! Just when we thought the meal was done, they brought out a cup of ice cream and frozen fruit. It was a refreshing treat for the warm weather.

After lunch we went to Alejandro’s machinery shed. He is one of the few farmers in the area who is able to own his own machinery. He explained the uses for his machinery and how he has begun to implement technology such as GPS.

Next we traveled to their equivalent of a local elevator. We learned that they take wheat from the local farmers, but they only trade soybeans. This 19,000 metric ton storage facility was also a dealer for agrochemicals and fertilizer. We recognized many brand names from the United States.

Finally, we boarded the bus and headed to Rosario where we stayed for the night. Many of us adventured out on the town to enjoy more local cuisine. We look forward to tomorrow and another sun filled day in Argentina where we'll add on to today’s sunburn!

Adios Amigos!

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Current and past state FFA officers are invited to participate in the International Leadership Seminar for State Officers (ILSSO). Participants spend 10 days traveling abroad and learning about international agriculture and the global marketplace. Find out more about National FFA Global programs on ffa.org.

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