U.S. Embassy Montevideo - Archives

Embassy officials tour meat and soybean farms in Uruguay

Representatives from U.S. Embassies in Buenos Aires and Montevideo meet farm and production plant owners in Tacuarembo, Soriano, Colonia

Feb. 26, 2004


Bob Hoff, Agricultural Counselor for the U.S. Embassy, Buenos Aires, Joyce Wong, Economic Officer, at the U.S. Embassy, Montevideo, Ken Joseph, and Maria Julia Balbi, Agricultural Specialist and Marketing Assistant, respectively, in Buenos Aires, traveled through the departments of Tacuarembo, Soriano, and Colonia from Feb. 10 to 12 to acquaint themselves with developments in Uruguay's agricultural and livestock sectors.

On Feb. 10, they visited Hereford cattle production operations on the "Estancia La Invernada,” in Piedra Sola, Tacuarembo, where they spoke with Gonzalo Soto, who has, among other activities, imported U.S. consumer-ready products and participated actively in Embassy Montevideo and Embassy Buenos Aires programs.

On Feb. 11, the Embassy group traveled to Tacuarembo to visit the facilities of the Tacuarembo Packing House, meeting with President Fernando Secco and his staff, learning about the history of this enterprise, which was founded in 1961, and apprising themselves of Uruguay's future export potential in fresh and cooked meat products. The fundamental idea, which underlay the construction of Tacuarembo Packing House was to be located in one of Uruguay's prime livestock production areas. The plant ships fresh and cooked meat to the U.S. (mostly to Puerto Rico, but also to the important niche market of Miami-Dade County, Fla., to which it exports the cooked meat product called "tasajo"). The plan is focusing considerable effort on marketing fresh, organic beef cuts to foreign buyers, and will be supplying Whole Foods Markets (headquartered in Austin, Texas) with this product.

On the morning of Feb. 12, the group visited a farm owned by Jaime Miller, located in Cololo, Soriano, and learned about Miller's Hereford cattle operations, as well as soybean production areas. The group met with representatives of "Agronegocios del Plata" (ADP) to learn more about the rapid expansion of soybean cultivation in Uruguay (area planted to soybeans has tripled over the last year). ADP technicians pointed to the high price of soybeans, the relatively cheap price of land, especially for Argentine farmers, and the absence of export taxes (in Argentina, soybeans and soybean products are taxed at the rates of 23.5 and 20 percent, respectively), as the prime reasons for the brisk growth in Uruguayan soybean production.

In the afternoon, the group traveled to Tarariras, Colonia, to visit the cheese processing plant of the Uruguayan enterprise "Valle Sauce," and met with President Jorge Duran and Vice President Monica Vazquez. This enterprise, which is 25 years old, has expanded its exports by offering a varied product mix. It exports principally to Brazil and Mexico.




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