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Here’s the beef

August 9, 2012
By Michael Tidemann - Staff Writer , Estherville Daily News

It might be the dead of winter in Argentina right now, but a group of Argentinians found a warm welcome at the Mark and Theresa Olson farm near Wallingford Thursday.

When they said there were two steak sandwiches left at the Mark and Theresa Olson farm Thursday, there was almost a fight among the Argentinians to see who could get there first. Not quite. But almost.

The occasion was a group of 24 Argentinian ranchers and beef nutritional consultants who came to visit the Olson farm as part of a study group put together by Nora Kugler, cattle nutritional consultant with Raciones Argentinas. For Kugler, who lives in Buenos Aires, it was a homecoming of sorts since she had previously stayed with John and Connie Greig for 15 days. That was 23 years ago when she came to the U.S. at the invitation of Bob De Baca who introduced her to the Greigs. Even then, Kugler was interested in studying cattle nutrition in the U.S.

Article Photos

Members of an Argentinian study group visited the Mark and Theresa Olson farm Thursday. The group toured South Dakota and Iowa to study beef nutrition.
EDN photo by Michael Tidemann

Kugler said Argentinian ranchers are just how starting to finish out their cattle - the way American producers have done for years. She noted an average slaughter weight of 990 pounds compared to Olson who markets his cattle at around 1,300 to 1,400 pounds.

Since about half of Argentinian beef is finished on grass rather than going to lots for fattening, Kugler said they don't grind hamburger since their beef is pretty much lean cuts.

One man from the study group, who wished to be unnamed, noted that soy diesel is bigger than the ethanol industry in Argentina. He said investors don't want to get into ethanol there because they don't know how the government would tax the industry.

"Farmers are a public enemy for the government," he said, noting that 60 percent of the market price of soybeans goes to the government.

From the Olson farm the group went to Ames and Des Moines then on to Chicago.



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