Leaving directly from the Governor’s Conference on Agricultural Trade in Richmond on March 7, VALOR inaugural fellows fulfilled a mission of studying international agriculture as part of their curriculum with a two-week tour of Argentina.
Numerous cities and provinces were visited by land and by air, and families and individuals greeted fellows with traditional hospitality, food, and drink in their homes and places of business. The cities of Buenos Aires, Melincúe (Santa Fe), General Deheza (Córdoba), Mercedes (San Luis), Mendoza, El Calafate (Santa Cruz), and Iquazú (Misiones) all had something different to offer as we traveled all directions throughout the country. Agricultural manufacturing, processing, research and development, crop production, livestock breeding and genetics, economics, governmental regulation, and education were all addressed along the way. Five in-country flights and thousands of kilometers on buses allowed fellows to travel to areas ranging from the lush and humid sub-tropical to glacier steppes receiving almost no annual rainfall.
With ties to Virginia enterprises, we were certain to include visits with Cerruti y Sitto, a partner manufacturing group for Suffolk-based Amadas Industries, and Novozymes Argentina who acquired a Salem-based company in the last decade. Our last day also included a personal two-hour visit at the U.S. Embassy with the USDA Foreign Agriculture Service liaison.
The experiential learning that occurred was apparent, and reflection of how insights gained will impact VALOR fellow involvement in Virginia agriculture moving forward is still ongoing. Our program blog was kept throughout by fellows to capture portions of the trip for our followers, and we encourage you to visit the site.