By: Dylan Kitchen, Jordan Champion, Erica Rogers, and Justin Arnold
Yesterday, we visited the Mercado de Liniers in Buenos Aires. It is the largest livestock market in the world, running over 10,000 head of cattle daily. This market is unique in many aspects, including their shipping methods, sales approach, technological use, and economic impact. The auctions at the market are held 5 days a week, and buyers from all over the country attend. There are 55 brokers currently involved in the sale and purchase process, in total employing around 2,200 people. This means that the market has an outstanding impact on the local community and economy.
The livestock auctions take place in a large grid of hundreds of pins, with the auctioneer walking above and throughout the pins with most of the buyers. Herdsmen also move and evaluate the cattle, which are sold by the lot rather than individually. Selling prices on Tuesday were around $0.80-$1.00 per pound. After a sale, the cattle are moved to an electronic scale so that their final weight can be recorded before exiting. The cattle are the full responsibility of the buyer from that point on.
The Mercado represents sales of 15% of Argentina’s beef supply. Without this market, thousands of people would not have jobs or a way to conduct their business. Although the market was chaotic and messy, it was still amazing to witness an important piece of the country’s beef price discovery.
Next, we headed to the Argentine Association of Regional Consortia for Agricultural Experimentation (AACREA). This regional association of farmers, businesses, and corporations works to improve productivity, overcome industry challenges, and share useful research and information. Members form groups of 8 – 12 led by a knowledgeable advisor and cooperate to tackle local farm business management issues.
Although AACREA requires paid membership to join, their research results are free to the public. They have also implemented a program, EduCREA, tasked specifically with educating the local community about sustainable practices. This is very beneficial because agricultural education is not nearly as developed in Argentina as it is in the United States. The Association only represents 1% of Argentina’s farm population, but it is estimated that their work impacts over 50,000 people annually.
AACREA’s members are very advanced, with many certified agronomists serving as advisors and many professional members. Over 60% of the members have a college education. Membership is also showing increasing levels of corporate involvement, although 80% of members are still family farms.
CREA markets themselves as an association of businessmen rather than an association of farmers. They have been instrumental in advancing agriculture practices in the country and in other territories. As the organization grows and expands, so will Argentinian agriculture.