Alex Butler, Marisa Hendrickson, Zach Utterback, and Josey Moore
Our introduction to Argentinian companies began with Aceitera General Deheza, a company who specializes in the refinement of vegetable (soybean and peanut) protein meals, pellets, glycerine, and biodiesel. AGD has similar aspects to America’s Cargill because they are both involved with plant oil products on a large scale. One of the primary differences between the two companies resides in the fact that AGD is a vertically integrated company who grows some of its own product. The presentation at the company included a video, great powerpoint, and commentary by Carlos “Billy” Haeberle and his colleague, Santiago, who discussed various factors that contribute to the success of the company. The company is especially prominent in the soybean market seeing as it accounts for fifty percent of Argentina’s soybean meal and oil, but they are currently experimenting with expanding into the livestock industry, starting with swine. The company discussed how the government involvement in the agriculture industry is sometimes an asset and since they are able to negotiate prices with farmers quickly due to the extensive records the government collects about crops for taxation. On the flip side, the government’s instability makes attempts to be an international competitor challenging because of the frequent swings in political parties in office and their stance on reducing debt/increasing trade.
After our visit had concluded with AGD, we visited with the Schutter Group. Schutter is a significant player in supply chain management with locations worldwide. In the US, many of the services that Schutter provides for Argentina are provided by the USDA. These services include grading agricultural commodities and certification, in Argentina, those processes are provided by a privatized companies like Schutter. Schutter prepared a presentation for our group, which began with general information about trends in Argentinian grain markets and where they foresaw the market going; this covered topics such as the 1 million hectares being added to production and the historical corn crop that is anticipated. The presentation then went into information particular to Schutter, detailing all the countries they are involved in, their important markets, and what services they offer. After their presentation, we had an opportunity to network and discussed in-depth with them similarities and differences between the US and Argentina.
Before traveling to the Instituto de Promocion de la Carne Vacuna Argentina (IPCVA) we stopped to have a great lunch at the Galerias Pacifico Mall where we enjoyed some of the local eateries. Once we were full, the group continued on to IPCVA where we discussed many of the intricacies of the Argentine cattle market. IPVCA is similar to the American Cattlemen’s Association where they concentrate on helping farmers within the industry. Farmers came together to build this institute because of the volatility and lack of knowledge of the cattle market. Unlike the US cattlemen’s the IPCVA is only made up of 12 employees who take up approximately 5% of their total budget and a cattle herd of 52 million head. Additionally, the IPCVA does a check-off like the US where every cow or steer that is slaughtered allocates a dollar to the institute, and they don’ t receive any money from the government. This was one of institution we visited that is highly relatable to the US in many ways and was fascinating.
After our visit with the Argentine Institute for Beef Promotion, we hopped on a train and headed to the Congress building for a private tour. The sheer beauty of the building was breathtaking. The palace they call it is a neoclassical style, utilizing materials from all over the world with elaborately furnished interiors. The Congress of the Argentine Nation (Congreso de la Nación Argentina) is the legislative branch of the government of Argentina. Similar to the United States Congress, Argentina runs a bicameral legislature composed of the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies.
Ordinary sessions span is from March 1 to November 30. The Congress is in charge of setting taxes and customs, which must be uniform across the country. It rules the Central Bank of Argentina, manages internal and external debt payment, and the value of a national currency (currently the Argentine peso).