March 18th, 2016
By: Ashleigh Blausey, Lexington Everett, Dakari Howard, John Marsh
Today our journey had a planned start at 8:40 am, but we were delayed as we had a traveler fall back asleep after the wake up call. We headed on our way to the first stop of the day once all travelers were in the vans.
The first stop of our day was CIAVT in Santa Fe Province, Argentina. CIAVT is an agribusiness in Argentina that specializes in Artificial Insemination (AI). The company was founded in 1961 with a main focus on the gathering and selling semen of dairy and beef cattle. When the company was founded, artificial insemination was an emerging technology gaining global adoption.. CIAVT brought technology from England to start there business in the early 1960’s and over the years has become a well-established and best AI company in Argentina because they were the foundation of artificial insemination expertise. The first company CIAVT connected with for their selling and expansion semen abroad was ABS. After some time, ABS decided to leave Argentina when it was purchased by another competitor.
As we listened to the speaker representing the company, it was quite apparent that he had great pride in this company. At first we believed it to be a facade that every company worker is forced to express. But as the meeting went on, their attention to detail seem to us, to go beyond other companies. One example of striving for excellence is when they milked the bull, and tested the sperm. They used a technology that takes pictures of the sperm with the stats of how healthy that specific batch is. They said that they were the only ones in the field that gave their customers this type of “Sperm Vision”, a term they coined. To us this is a clear example of CIAVT going over and beyond for the customer, and they didn’t say that they implemented this in order to increase sells or gained a competitive edge in the market. (Although that could have been their intention). We felt that what they expressed was that they simply did it because they cared about their customers, and thought it would be nice for them to see this “Sperm Vision”. Another example of the company’s pride and attempt for perfection can be seen in how they treat their animals.
They treat the bulls with care that was uncommon in the field. As our speaker boosted “Do you see these fields? When we bring Americans to see our operation, they all say that four or five bulls could fit in the same area that we have one in.” He continued “I always reply. Our bulls are happy! You can always see them prancing and gallivanting. Do your bulls do that?” This is when we saw what was really important to CIAVT. Their main concern was how they did business, not if they made the most money. We have seen the same mindset within most of the Argentinian companies that we have toured throughout the entire trip. So this contrast is between the U.S.A. and Argentina, not between other Argentinian companies. It’s an Argentinian mindset or pride, that you must be the most ethical in the field and do things the right way. (Although right and wrong is subjective). Don’t get us wrong we don’t believe that companies like CIAVT keep profits in the forefront of their mind. But we do believe that they do business on a foundation, composed of values and morals at its center, and less about profits. At the end of day it comes down to, not what you do, but why you do it. Where we see a lot of American companies do things that are seen as ethical for profits. While in Argentina we feel that a lot of companies are doing ethical things because they believe that it’s the right thing to do, and are following a strict moral code, that sometimes contradicts economic growth and profitability. We think the key word is strict. Because some of the choices they make are for lack of a better word, foreign to us.
Next on our trip was Dow Agro-Science. This company is was well known to many of us students before coming to Argentina. Dow has branded and expanded themselves throughout the world. The facility that we had the pleasure of touring housed four ear corn pits, seventeen dehusking beds, and four dryers. With all the set up and organization that Dow had at this facility they are able to condition ten tons of crop per hour and bag six-thousand seed bags per day. All of this soon to be corn seed is coming from the five thousand and seven hundred hectares of land. When Dow harvest the corn to turn into seed corn, it is harvested out of the field at thirty-five percent moisture in order to allow the kernels to be properly dried for the best germination in the next growing season. Once we finished touring the facility we got to go through a presentation and learn about the new technology that Dow is going to be selling called Enlist. This technology is to help kill the herbicide resistant weeds that over use of herbicides has created. From these stats you can clearly see that Dow is an international powerhouse. But with all their money, market share, and power. They still have problems with the most basic economic trait – payments of technology fees. In Argentina, they said in is hard to get the farmer to pay for the seed product after they use it. The only type of seed that causes the problem is soybeans, because the soybeans can be saved and planted the next season.
They have tried many different approaches to collecting the technology fees but with limited success. Although this problem persists, I don’t see them slowing down their progress in the near future.
After the two wonderful tours we had today we loaded up the vans and started the last leg of our trip to Mendoza. We had about a seven hour drive until we finally reached our destination for the night. With this long drive, many used the time wisely to catch up on some sleep. Once we caught up on some sleep, we started to play a game called town’s people and mobsters. This game is really entertaining since we have a narrator who comes up with a town name and then decides who is the mobster, nurse, electrician, and town’s people. The only catch is that when the characters are being decided everyone’s eyes are closed so no one knows who is who. Then it is up to the towns people to try and eliminate the mobster before the mobster eliminates them. Eventually we finished with games and sleep and made it to our hotel where we settled to prepare for the next day.