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Published June 20, 2009, 12:00 AM

Worldly perspective

To learn more about North Dakota’s crops and cattle production, 55 residents of Brazil and Argentina spent time Friday at the North Dakota State University’s Dickinson Research Extension Center speaking with agents and touring the grounds.

By: Beth Wischmeyer, The Dickinson Press

To learn more about North Dakota’s crops and cattle production, 55 residents of Brazil and Argentina spent time Friday at the North Dakota State University’s Dickinson Research Extension Center speaking with agents and touring the grounds.

Representing Cooperative Resources International, a company that provides artificial insemination tools, the group stopped in Dickinson on its tour through Midwest states, stopping in Missouri, Iowa, South Dakota and North Dakota. The group will end in Montana next week.

The group, made up of cattle producers and CRI representatives, made the trek to the United States to view how CRI’s products were working in U.S. herds. It was also an opportunity to find out more about differences in cattle production.

“For many of them this is their first time visiting the United States,” said Dean Gilge, associate vice president for international business operations for the company. “They really want to see the performance of the cattle live and in person.”

The group visited cattle operations in Richardton and New England.

“They (the group) have great enthusiasm for seeing the operations,” Gilge said.

A name more familiar to U.S. users may be Genex Cooperative Inc., a subsidiary of CRI, Gilge said.

This is the third time a group from CRI has visited the center, said Kris Ringwall, DREC director.

“We really have a connection to the world with what we’re doing here,” Ringwall said. “I think we can’t afford not to be interested in what’s going on with the industry.

“We’re interested in what they’re doing and they’re interested in what we’re doing. I think it speaks highly of the area to have a group like this come here.”

Raising cattle in North Dakota is different than Brazil, said Marcos Silveira, a participant with the group.

“There are more feeds here,” Silveira said. “In Brazil, it is different because we graze the natural grass. We have more water and our winters aren’t as cold. We don’t really have any hay or supplements.”

Cattle are more concentrated and require more acres for grazing in Brazil, he added.

Santiago Debernardi, a resident of Argentina, said production methods are also different.

“Here you have more cross-breeding,” Debernardi said. “In Argentina we have pure breeds.”

The group toured the grounds at the DREC, then learned more about cattle operations in the area from DREC staff.

The majority of the group spoke Spanish and Michael Sleeper, associate vice president for international marketing, translated.

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to come here,” Silveira said. “We were very well hosted by all the people we met and they were kind enough to open their homes and operations up to us.”

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