While in Uruguay, I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to be allowed to participate in new and interesting experiences in the agricultural field. Growing up I never really got to experience livestock or grain production. Consequently, traveling to an international country is a great way to get your feet wet. As pictured in the photo attached to the post, I got to experience one of the coolest experiences of my young life- rice production.
While it may not sound too exciting, for me, it was the highlight of the trip. I had never seen a rice field in person before and was enthralled by the subject matter while in the country. As a class, we got to experience three different sides of the production process: research, production, and milling. Each had a unique purpose and experience. In terms of research, at the INIA facility, we saw the process of crop rotations that they were developing to help the production of pasture for livestock. For production, we witnessed the massive operation that was Paso de la Laguna. This cattle operation had almost 10,000 acres of land in agricultural production, with rotations that included rice (one of which I am pictured in front of). After experiencing those aspects of rice production, we got to witness the greatness that was the rice mill. While at the mill we witnessed every step of the milling process, from the dumping of the grains to the drying process to the sorting and grading to packaging.
Another aspect I thoroughly enjoyed as an Agribusiness student was the pricing system. Unlike the crops in the US, rice production is determined by the grower and miller just agreeing on a price. This process has only failed six times in the system’s history. It was amazing.