Members of the Grey Wooded Forage Association are planning a trip to a new continent, and they’re looking for people to join them. The group will be hosting its inaugural tour abroad to Argentina in February 2015. The tour is focused on Argentina’s beef industry, and participants will get to visit farms, research centres, and co-operatives and have lots of opportunity to meet Argentine farmers.
“I think people are moving away from mainstream tours. They want to connect with like-minded folks. If they’re in the farming industry, they want to meet local farmers and ask questions about how they farm, the different techniques that they employ, and about the market,” said Lawrence Rowley, whose Calgary-based company, Leader Tours, designed the tour.
Partners in Argentina lead the tour group and help Canadians get past the language barrier.
“One of the highlights that people really like on all our tours is the visits to the farms to meet the locals,” said Rowley.
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The tour, which runs from February 20 to March 3, 2015 will include Buenos Aires and the southern part of Argentina, with an optional Iguazu Falls add-on.
Many of the farms visited in Argentina do business with Canada.
“The domestic demand for beef in Argentina is the highest in the world, so most of their beef is being shipped within Argentina or South America,” Rowley said. “They struggle to compete in the international market. If they did get that right, they would be very competitive, just like Brazil.”
Other highlights will include a visit to a horse-breeding farm, and interactions with Argentinian cowboys, known as “gauchos.”
This is the first tour for the Grey Wooded Forage Association, but the Foothills Forage and Grazing Association has been offering agricultural tours for several years. Members of the Foothills Forage Association have toured Brazil, New Zealand, the Mississippi area of the United States and Argentina. Last year, they took about 64 people to Argentina and the same number, divided into two smaller groups, will be going to Scotland in June and July 2015.
Ian Murray, president of the Foothills Forage Association, sees value in the tours because they allow people to see farming in other parts of the world. The tourists learn about different farming technologies and management practices that they can use back home.
“Some of the producers who have gone on these trips have had hugely positive feedback about what they have seen over there,” said Murray.
For more information about the Argentina tour visit the Grey Wooded Forage Association website.
Information about the Foothills Forage and Grazing Association tours can be found on its website.