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Once The Export King, Argentina Set To Import Beef

Just 35 years ago, Argentina was the world's biggest exporter of beef. Today, it exports almost no beef and, for the first time in history, may have to import up to 1 million tons of beef next year

Just 35 years ago, Argentina was the world's biggest exporter of beef. Today, it exports almost no beef and, for the first time in history, may have to import up to 1 million tons of beef next year, most likely from neighboring Uruguay, which still has a healthy beef industry.

The country was built on the beef trade, and Argentines lead the world in beef consumption – 176 lbs./person/year. But Argentine government policies have hampered beef exports, while the lure of soy and other grains convinced many long-time cattle ranchers to switch to grains.