Argentina may have to import beef


Oct 18, 2009
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina - Argentina, a nation that prides itself on having more cattle than people, may soon be forced to import beef to keep its meat-loving citizens happy at the dinner table.

Intense government efforts to keep meat affordable through taxes, export restrictions and price controls have enabled Argentines to eat record amounts of beef this year, but the short-term bonanza has come at a very steep cost. With little or no profit left in meat, ranchers are selling out, slaughtering even the female cows needed to maintain their herds.

President Cristina Fernandez, who famously dismissed soy as a "weed," has said her government must protect consumers at a time when booming soy production has taken over 32 million acres (13 million hectares) of grassland once used for ranching.

Her government also has paid huge subsidies for massive feedlot operations where previously grass-fed cattle are fattened on corn and grain.

But it still takes three years from the moment a calf is born for a cut of beef to reach the supermarket, where the price — set weekly by government bureaucrats — is roughly 2 dollars per pound (half kilo), less than the going rate for a pizza that takes minutes to make.
"Her government also has paid huge subsidies for massive feedlot operations where previously grass-fed cattle are fattened on corn and grain."

Cows are biologically NOT meant to eat corn! This has serious implications on people's health and the environment. Please take some time to research this and watch Food, Inc, while you're at it. You will learn A LOT.

I am curious to know what other people think about this? Do you think that mass-meat production is safe and ecologically sound? What sorts of measures are people taking to lessen their environmental impact and avoid the potentially dangerous effects of hormonal and chemical manipulation of certain foods?

*NOTE: these are just questions. I know there are some negative/pessimistic personalities on this forum, so please let's take Thumper's advice on this one, "If you can't say somthin' nice, it's best not to say anything at all!" Go eat a big mac!
The message i get from the poster is :

- Controlled prices : bad
- Free markets : good

which leads me to quick conclusions about his political orientations and how far he has been influenced by his environment.

The problem is deeper than that. With a real inflation reaching 30% a year, food budget is getting more and more unaffordable for Argentines whose salaries dont stick to real infaltion. To avoid politcal unrest, they need to keep some prices affordable and as a matter of fact control some prices.

Their mistake is not their will to control prices, this is absolutly necessary in such an inflationary environment. This mistake is to control statistics, lying to their people, to their money lenders (who index interests on official inflation) and lying to themselves.

The rumor that Argentina might need to import meat has been consistent over the last 6 month. The real reason would be less price control than the draught that has been affecting most of the country over last year (except Buenos Aires and eastern Chaco). The agricultural lobbies of course dont like to be forced to keep meat affordable for Argentines, and they will develop whatever argument that might help them in their fight against the government, even fallatious if needed.
fifilafiloche said:
The message i get from the poster is :

- Controlled prices : bad
- Free markets : good

which leads me to quick conclusions about his political orientations and how far he has been influenced by his environment.

You got that "message" from me copy and pasting an article without adding any commentary.... I suggest you polish that dusty crystal ball because it's giving you false readings.

I simply posted the article and the link because I thought it was interesting. PERIOD.

Or should I start each link I post with the following disclaimer... The Views and opinions expressed in the attached article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the posters official position on the matter.
I've noticed a decline in the quality of beef now that feed lots are being used. On my trips to the coast I see fewer cattle. One farm building was emblazoned in huge letters "FEED LOT".

I'm not sure that price controls are a bad thing. Farmers have turned to soy because it is so profitable. If price controls were lifted for beef production would they stop producing soy? Higher prices for beef would surely mean that far fewer people could afford it.
I have noticed a steady decline in the quality of the beef since I first came to visit in 2001. My first visit I thought I was in heaven! Through the years the quality really seemed to decline. Now my mother-in-law has to choose all the beef because she has an eye for what the good stuff is vs the other.

Ok... don't laugh at me too much. First of all, I hate McDonalds, always have. But on my first visit to Buenos Aires in 2001 my brother-in-law wanted me to take him to McDonalds. The first time I bit into a hamburger here I was shocked. It was the best damn hamburger I had ever eaten, far better than anything I have EVER tasted in the US, except for what mom used to make.

Unfortunately the party is evidently over. We've been to several different McDonalds in the last 3 months and man o man, I have no idea what they are using for the meat in hamburgers here now. WAY worse than anything I've ever tasted. I have no idea what happened, I assume cost cutting measures or they not import the meat from elsewhere, or this is the left over crap meat from the bottom of the barrel.

Too bad
And btw, I agree with Charlsi, grass fed is what makes Argentinian beef so good and healthy. This is why much of our beef in the US sucks and is not very healthy, it is mostly corn/grain fed. Not to mention the hormones and antibiotics etc.

I can not remember the name of the chemical that is missing from beef that was not grass fed, but it was a contributing factor in obesity. I can't remember what the name.

I saw an article just before I came down here in September that Argentina was moving to corn-fed and I told my family I hope they did not go through with it because it would be the death of the famous Argentinian beef.

I know that they have to do what they have to do, but I hope they can turn things around before they destroy a famous industry.
Food is being used by big business to make people fat , unhealthy , and intentionally sick to profit the medical industry . Peoples health are in poor shape and obesity levels are skyhigh due to hormones and chemicals that are pumped into foods .

Argentines are getting fatter no doubt and their meat has become a sad relic of the past.
People are getting fat because they eat too much - fail to exercise, and sit watching TV, or playing on their computers all day.......... Get real!

And get exercising..
My friend's parents have a farm. They get a pitiful amount of money per cow (government price controls). The guy who slaughters it makes more money from the slaughter than they make from rearing it, feeding it and keeping it healthy for four years.

Sad state of affairs, doesn't surprise me that quality and supply are going to take a hit.