Uruguay beef industry, cattle and farming

Cows outnumber people over 3:1 in Uruguay and grass-fed beef is the norm. (Photo: Eduardo Amorim)

An American Express print campaign several years back encouraged cardholders to travel abroad with this culinary tagline, “Only 4 restaurants in the world can prepare the perfect steak…3 of them are in Argentina.” Perhaps the only thing bigger than the country’s reputation for fine beef is the sheer girth of the cattle that roam the fertile Pampas.

But a funny thing happened on the road to recovery from the ’02 financial crisis, Alexei Barrionuevo tells New York Times readers: “Argentina, in some ways, is a victim of its own success. Exports rose after a steep devaluation of the Argentine peso in 2002 made the country’s beef more competitive globally. But supplies began to dry up for Argentine consumers who eat more beef per person than any others in the world, industry officials say, causing prices to rise and stoking social discontent.”

Political intervention and recent drought conditions forced many farmers to focus more efforts on soybean cultivation. Advantage Uruguay. The neighboring country of 3.8 million is growing beef exports and gaining visibility on the world stage, thanks in part to an aggressive marketing campaign by INAC, the National Beef Institute. (Full NYTimes article)

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