Argentine cattlemen tour Wyo industry in adult education exchange
From June 16-23, 12 Argentine’s visited Wyoming with the goal of learning more about the state’s agriculture industry.
The group was comprised of members of the Argentina’s cattlemen’s association – the Asociacion de Gambderos de Bahía Blanca – and aim to begin an exchange between the two countries.
“I belong to a local association in Argentina,” said Mariano González Martínez. “We decided to set up a group and visit Wyoming. We are all cattlemen, and we wanted to see another perspective of the current industry, from the cow/calf operations to research and livestock sale barns.”
Wyoming Business Council’s Livestock Genetics Program Manager Scott Keith commented, “The purpose of this trip is really educational, and I think it is very positive.”
Similarities and differences
“Wyoming is the closest in the U.S. to Argentina as far as cattle production – it is very similar,” González Martínez said. “We also do a lot of production on the range.”
While they graze cattle, González Martínez marked some differences in grazing management.
“We have more carrying capacity on our land, so we can keep more cows per land unit,” he said. “The main difference is in finishing cattle. We don’t get any snow, so we don’t get to feed cattle in the winter. They graze year-round.”
González Martínez added that management is very similar in many ways.
“We have some of the same problems as cattlemen here do with taxes and drought,” he said. “We had a severe drought in 2009, and Argentina lost 10 million head of cattle. We have been recovering the past few years.”
“The big differences are in prices and costs,” he continued, adding that government regulations also are challenging, particularly in the current political climate in Argentina.
In coming to Wyoming, the group visited a wide variety of operations.
“We saw some purebred cattle operations, Torrington Livestock Exchange, the University’s experiment station at Lingle, the feedlot at True Cattle Company and some commercial operations,” added González Martínez. “We got a good overview of how the cattle industry is in the state.”
Keith also noted they visited other places, like the Terry Bison Ranch, the hot springs in Thermopolis, Wyoming Whiskey in Kirby and Lou Taubert’s in Casper. In total, they visited two commercial operations, four purebred ranches and a number of industry sites.
“They got quite a bit of exposure to Wyoming’s industry,” Keith added. “It was a tremendous week, and the group was very engaged and interested in all that we are doing.”
Fourth generation cattle producer Mariano D’Amore commented, “Wyoming is very similar to Argentina. The cattle, crops and rain are all similar.”
“The things we have seen are very close to our own country, but different in some ways,” he continued. “We enjoyed the tour very much.”
Keith added that he appreciates the participation of Wyoming producers and groups that made the tour so successful.
“We are from very similar environments, but both places have a different approach to production, and it is a healthy exchange,” commented UW Extension Beef Specialist Steve Paisley.
“This is an exchange program,” said González Martínez of the tour. “We try to give our perspective on Wyoming programs and issues, and we are trying to gain perspective from your way of doing things that could help us.”
Despite slightly different systems, González Martínez commented that there are many ideas and systems that can help to improve their production.
“Most of the differences are simply details, and they are very useful,” he continued.
“We would really love to have people from Wyoming come down to Argentina and visit our places,” commented González Martínez. “This is just the beginning.”
Working between the University of Southern Argentina and the University of Wyoming, González Martínez, Paisley and Keith noted that they would like to see an exchange program develop.
“We would like it to be a two-way street,” said González Martínez. “People from Wyoming would spend time in Argentina, and Argentines would come up to Wyoming.”
Keith said that the tour was part of a three-part program being developed.
“Phase one would include classroom studies during exchanges, including concentrated short courses about ranch management and similar subjects,” explained Keith. “The second component would be internships for Wyoming students to Argentina and Argentine students to Wyoming.”
Though just a vision right now, Keith explained that ideally, students would spend as long as six months working on cattle ranches in each country to experience the similarities and differences first hand.
“The third component is exchanging adult education,” he added. “This trip fits that component.”
Paisley noted that the program is a pilot program aimed to continue educational opportunities.
“Both universities are interested in developing a Memorandum of Understanding, so hopefully we will get some educational coordination between the two,” Paisley explained. “The beef industry is becoming a global industry, and I think there are things we can learn.”
“From the exchange, we have gained a lot,” commented González Martínez,
“and hopefully we can give something back to the people that are receiving us.”
Saige Albert is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.