Students explore agriculture in Argentina, Uruguay

Writer: Olivia Norton


A favorite stop on the trip, the group spent one night at San Pedro de Timote in Uruguay. The historic hotel grounds included a Catholic church, a bell tower and a restaurant.

Thirty-four students in the College of Agriculture and life Sciences had the experience of a lifetime this summer when they explored the many aspects of agriculture in parts of Argentina and Uruguay as part of a study abroad program July 28-Aug. 4.

The Argentina and Uruguay Agriculture and Animal Production study abroad program, led by Department of Animal Science faculty Dr. Shawn Ramsey, professor, and Dr. Leslie Frenzel, instructional assistant professor and undergraduate academic advisor, offered students a complete educational experience including tours of notable cities and landmarks, the scenic countryside and coastlines, a taste of local cuisine, visits with leaders from agricultural associations, and in-depth tours to numerous farms and agricultural centers.

The main focus of the study abroad program explored the regions’ livestock industry including beef, dairy, horse and grain production systems. Highlights included:

July 28: Arrived in Montevideo, Uruguay.

July 29: Toured the city of Montevideo en route to the Farmers Meat Institute and their meat museum.

July 30: Visited a cooperative milk-processing plant, and a sheep stud farm in Florida County. The evening was spent at San Pedro de Timote, one of the most important and oldest ranch houses in Uruguay.


Students visited an auction barn near Buenos Aires. The students recognized a significant size difference of the Argentine cattle in comparison to American cattle sold for slaughter. The average cattle size for slaughter is around 300-350 kg or approximately 650-800 lbs. The cattle here were sold for 23 pesos (or around $2.45) per kg for the entire pen.

July 31: Toured a large farm that produces milk, beef, lambs, Arabian horses and works with genetics before ending the day in Colonia County.

August 1: Visited a dairy farm that specializes in cheese production and attended a lecture on Uruguayan farming systems at the National Institute of Research.

August 2: The group departed Colonia del Sacramento by a ferry for Buenos Aires, crossing the Río de la Plata. Buenos Aires is the capital city of Argentina and one of the largest in the world, with a total population of 14 million  including one third of the total population of Argentina living in the Buenos Aires area.

August 3: Visited a livestock market and auction in Buenos Aires where 8,000 to 12,000 head of cattle are sold daily for processing in the abattoirs around the city for domestic consumption, and Cabaña Casamú, an Aberdeen Angus pedigree farm.

August 4: Students enjoyed a navigation tour of the Paraná River in a private boat. Getting to see the terminals in operation gave students an understanding of the competitive power of Argentine agriculture products in the world arena. Students then visited the John Deere plant in Granadero Baigorria where the engines used in tractors and combines that are built in the Brazil plant are assembled.

August 5: Visit to a small but progressive dairy farm before departing for Santa Isabel where students visited La Constancia, a small farm that has been in operation since 1913.

August 6: Students visited a seed processing plant and visited the town of Venado Tuerto.

August 7: Arrived in Pergamino, a province of Buenos Aires, to visit El Desafío, a 280 hectare farm dedicated to cattle and the production of corn, soybeans and wheat in no till agriculture.


Red and black Angus cattle are the most common breeds raised in Argentina and Uruguay. Most of the farmers graze their cattle on alfalfa and rotate them to different pastures of oats, sorghum and other types. The farmers focus on efficiency and raising their cattle to a moderate frame size rather than raising large carcasses.

August 8: Toured four neighborhoods in Buenos Aires including La Boca, San Telmo, Palermo and Norte. Also toured Puerto Madero, the recycled port area where old warehouses have been converted into fancy offices, restaurants and apartments, Recoleta, the Plaza de Mayo, the cathedral Basílica de Nuestra Señora Del Pilar and many other sights.

August 9: Explored the Pampas Region, a low land area along the Salado River devoted to beef cattle and plant crops before traveling to Balcarce.

August 10: Visited the Balcarce Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Agropecuaria (INTA) Experiment Station and the School of Agriculture at Mar del Plata National University. INTA is a branch of the Ministry of Agriculture.

August 11: Visited San Eustaquio, a 1,400 hectare farm with primary focus on Arab horse breeding.

August 12: Visited El Choique, an 800 hectare farm, and a neighboring dairy farm where the group observed the farms pastures, herds and dairy parlors.

August 13: Toured a beef cattle farm in the Salado River Basin before returning to Buenos Aires.

August 14: Departed Argentina en route back to Aggieland.

The student group included Carly Armstrong, Jenna Bottorf, Tianti Carter, Dimas Chevez, Dax Dittrich, Kelly Fowlkes, Clarissa Gonzalez, Jordan Hevner, Kade Hodges, Maddison Holder, Jamie Kelley, Sierra Key, Kelly Miller, Morgan Moreno, Sarah Muehlstein, Sharon Nguyen, Bridget O’Brien, Asucena Ochoa, Jessica Puente, Alexis Roach, Joel Rodriquez, Guadalupe Sanchez, Rachel Sembera, Zack Smith, Alma Villa Reyes, Elizabeth West, Ashley Winkler, Kaitlynn Wolf and Stephanie Zipp, all animal science; Sutton Jones, agriculture science; Sarah Savage, agriculture economics; Baylee Smith, agribusiness; Tarah Smith, wildlife and fisheries; and Tyler Roberts, agricultural communications and journalism.

Here are few first-hand accounts of what the students learned and the benefits of participating in the study abroad trip:

By Bridget O’Brien

What was your favorite part of the trip?

My favorite part of the trip would be looking at all the phenomenal livestock at the various farms and ranches we visited. Two of my favorite places were Estancia Las Rosas and Cabaña Casamú. Las Rosas is a large, diversified agricultural enterprise where they produce milk, cattle, lambs, and Arabian horses. They really focus on improving their genetics and they exhibit their livestock at the national level. While every aspect of their operation was outstanding, I greatly enjoyed seeing their impressive Aberdeen Angus show cattle, Polled Dorsets, and Merino sheep. Cabaña Casamú, the largest Aberdeen Angus pedigree farm in Argentina, was another one of my favorite visits. What impressed me the most at Casamú was the quality and uniformity of their cattle and their unique breeding plan. They are truly dedicated to improving their cattle and producing the highest quality around. Both of these farm visits were once-in-a-lifetime opportunities that I am very fortunate to have seen.

What surprised you most about another part of the world’s production methods and how do they differ from what you have been exposed to here?

What surprised me the most about their production practices was how they put more emphasis on animals gaining subcutaneous fat rather than marbling. Therefore, cattle are harvested at a much younger age and lighter weight than our cattle in the U.S. This practice truly shows the diverse personal preferences of two different societies.

What was the most memorable experience?


The traditional South American meal, referred to as “asado,” includes rolls, meats and cheeses, empanadas, tomato and lettuce salad, at least three different cuts of beef, and dessert. The group ate this meal at least once per day.

The most memorable part of the trip was the food. I love eating beef and was very excited to see that Argentines and Uruguayans also loved to eat it as much as I do! A normal lunch started with a meat and cheese tray with bread. Following this, a salad with carrots and tomatoes was served. Next was a course of delicious empanadas followed by the main course of steak and french fries. Often desert encompassed ice cream and coffee. To say the least, we never left hungry!

What was the most valuable thing you took away from this trip?

The most valuable thing I took away from this trip was that no matter what part of the world you are in, the people in the agriculture industry are one in the same; the most hardworking, kind-hearted, genuine people you will ever encounter. Initially, I did not really know what to expect when traveling to another country; however, once I got there and began meeting people, I never felt too far from home. Day after day, farmers and ranchers and their families welcomed us into their homes, fed us, and taught us about their roles in agriculture. This experience showed me that agriculture is the backbone of a nation and the people involved in it are truly one of a kind.

In summary, this study abroad trip has been one of the highlights of my experience at Texas A&M. I am extremely grateful to have had this opportunity to travel to another country and learn about agriculture in a way that I could not otherwise do so while at Texas A&M. I encourage everyone to go on a study abroad trip; it is a great way to gain new perspective and develop an international network.

By Jordan Hevner

What surprised you most about another part of the world’s production methods/how do they differ from what you have been exposed to here?

The biggest surprise to me about their world’s production method was about how Uruguay and Argentina hardly feed their cattle any grain. They rely on grass to feed the cattle. The other interesting thing to me was the factors they focused on when it came to meat quality. They don’t like for their cattle to have marbling, and the people prefer to eat meat that has bone in it such as ribs.

What was most memorable?

The most memorable moment for me was when we went to the agriculture expo show in Argentina to see how their show industry differed from ours. There were so many other breeds of cattle and sheep that you don’t see here. I will also never forget how our entire group bought out the entire wool shop in the shopping expo at the show.

What was the most valuable thing you took away from this trip?

The most valuable thing that I took away from this trip is that  in the U.S. we dominate the agricultural world, but there are other countries that are becoming just as innovative as we are and that we will have some other major competitors in the near future.

This was an unforgettable experience that I will cherish for the rest of my life. I have been involved in agriculture for my entire life, but it was amazing to experience agriculture in other countries to give me a broader perspective of the agricultural industry as a whole. This is one industry that has to be worldwide in order to feed the world’s growing population. There were things that we do  here in the US that I thought was the right and only way, but after going to Argentina and Uruguay, I realize that our agricultural way isn’t always the best and isn’t the only way of doing business.

By Tianti Carter

What was your favorite part of the trip?

This is such a tough question, but I have narrowed it down to two really amazing moments. We stayed in the San Pedro De Timote homestead for one night. I cannot begin to put into words how beautiful this place was. It looked like an old, Spanish mission in the middle of the country. We had the opportunity to spend the afternoon exploring the homestead where we found a church, a bell tower, stairs that led to the rooftop, and a small stable. The second moment would have to be at the paleteadas at the Pergamino Show in Buenos Aires. I had the chance to talk to the working veterinarians there a little bit about what they do and the types of problems they face. I want to be a veterinarian, so this was a great way for me to hear about the differences in cattle and horse needs compared to what I have seen here in Texas.


The students explored many cultural aspects of the region including the Tango Show.

What was one of your most fun memories?

The tango show we attended in Buenos Aires, Argentina was awesome! In the beginning of the show we were captivated by the movie screen behind the stage as it lit up with scenes from their heritage, and out of nowhere, two horses were being ridden on stage. It was a total shock to see live horses being run around the stage at a tango show! The dancers were phenomenal, and the orchestra had an amazing moment when a group of accordion players collaborated on a song.

What was the most valuable thing you took away from this trip?

I had an amazing time getting to know two of our professors and a group of students within my major. I made a couple of really great friends and some awesome memories. I think it has helped me to gain a cultural perspective of agriculture that I had not explored before in farming, beef production, machinery, and polo horses.

This trip was one of the greatest opportunities I have had here at Texas A&M. I got to explore, learn, and have fun while making friends with people I now see every day. It is a great way to surround yourself with people and professors within your major. I would recommend this trip to anyone looking into the field of agriculture  as a career or even just wants to learn something new. We saw so much in three weeks, and it has helped to develop my perspective of agriculture.

By Jenna Bottorf

What was your favorite part of the trip?

Surprisingly getting to stay in so many different hotels and towns was one of my favorites. You really get to see many different variations and it’s good to change up the scenery.

What was the most memorable learning experience?

Going to the Auction in Buenos Aires. It is held inside the city on a very large property, with the ability to hold up to 40,000 head. The method is so different than here in the United States, and it was a great experience.


Mar de Plata, Argentina.

What was the most valuable thing you took away from this trip?

There is always more to learn. There will always be constant advancements in any industry, and it can be very useful to work with other countries to make these advances.

This trip was absolutely wonderful! I would give anything to be able to go on another Study Abroad trip with the Animal Science Department and strongly recommend that every student try to go on one. You learn so much more than you could imagine and it is truly a great experience!

By Tyler Roberts

What was your favorite part of the trip?

My favorite part of the trip was exploring the country Uruguay. Like Texas, Uruguay is made up of many small towns which makes for a “homey and welcoming” feel.  The Uruguayan natives were so nice and welcoming, and I learned so much about their traditions and way of life.

What surprised you most about another part of the world’s production methods and how do they differ from what you have been exposed to here?

I think what surprised me the most about Argentina and Uruguay is that they are two of the largest beef producing countries; however, most of the beef that is produced is mainly grassfed.  Because of this, there is not a lot of intramuscular fat, so they leave a strip of fat on the edge of most pieces of meat.

What was the most valuable thing you took away from this trip?

I think the most valuable thing that I took away from my trip this summer was communication.  Although I am not fluent in Spanish, I was able to communicate with the Spanish-speaking natives and learn so much about their lifestyles as a result.  I also made lifelong friendships because of the amount of time I spent with every student and professor on this trip.

My study abroad trip to Argentina and Uruguay was one I will remember forever.  Not only did I get to see other ways of farming and ranching, but I got to communicate and learn about their way of life.  I also made lifelong friendships through this and I think that’s what makes this trip so memorable.  I would go on this trip again in a heartbeat and am actually considering going to Australia this summer. If you want to see the world, learn different ways of agriculture and experience a different culture first hand, I would definitely recommend this trip!


For more information regarding news from the Department of Animal Science, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Texas A&M University, please contact Courtney Coufal at or (979) 845-1542.

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