Beef Tour Planned to Argentina, Brazil

US - Montanans who want to visit beef operations in Argentina and Brazil are invited to join the upcoming Beef Study Tour sponsored by the Montana Institute for Global Beef Studies and BEEF magazine
calendar icon 28 September 2007
clock icon 2 minute read

"In today's global marketplace, cattlemen need to know what the competition is up to and how they're doing it," said Clint Peck of Billings, Montana's director of Beef Quality Assurance. "We've developed an itinerary that'll give beef producers around the nation the best possible look at these countries' beef systems and assess their strengths and weaknesses as competitors in international markets."

The tour will run from Jan. 19 through Feb. 1, Peck said. The package price of $4,995 per person (double occupancy) includes pre-tour orientation, airfare, hotels, most meals and in-country air and motor coach travel. Participants will need to cover airfare to and from Miami, a Brazilian visa and incidentals. The signup deadline is Nov. 5 with $1,000 deposit per person.

Brazil has the world's largest commercial cattle herd at 180-190 million head and 180-200 million acres available for grazing development, Peck said. Argentina has 55 million head of beef cattle and "some of the planet's sweetest grazing in its Pampas region."

Joe Roybal, editor of BEEF, said, "The group of 25 men and women on the tour will interact with local cattle producers to learn how they deal with the opportunities and challenges of producing and marketing for both domestic and international markets."

Peck said both nations recently made high-profile, beef-industry news. Brazil-based JBS-Friboi bought Greeley, Colo.-based Swift and Co., for $1.4-billion. The deal makes Friboi one of the most powerful force in the global beef business. U.S.-based Cactus Feeders and Tyson Foods also signed a joint venture with the Argentine agricultural conglomerate, "Cresud" to create the first fully-vertically integrated beef operation in Argentina. The new company expects to produce beef products for the domestic Argentine consumer and give Tyson access to higher-value European beef markets.

Participants in the tour will stop at commercial and seed stock cattle farms, feedlots such as Cactus Argentina, agribusinesses, retail beef outlets and a JBS-Friboi packing plant.

Cattle operations in both countries are quite different, Peck said. "Argentina's temperate climate utilizes predominantly English cattle while Brazil's sub-tropical climate necessitates more Zebu-type blood."

Included in the itinerary are visits to internationally-renowned tourist sites, including the Cataratas do Iguaçu, the international waterfall listed among the seven natural wonders of the world. The tour ends with two days in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The tour is coordinated with local tour professionals and translators who understand beef cattle production in their regions, Peck said.

The Beef Quality Assurance program is one aspect of the Montana Beef Network. The program is run by Montana State University Extension and the Montana Stockgrowers Association.

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