Thursday, June 3, 2010
In the afternoon (a bit late rushing from the farm), we met with the CEO, Diego Sotelo, of FUCREA, Uruguayan Federation of Regional Centers of Agricultural Experimentations. www.fucrea.org The system set up by the French after WWII to support agricultural development. FUCREA was established in Uruguay in 1966. It is small groups of agricultural producers within the same field (beef, dairy, fruit) with 10-15 in membership who work together to share ideas, best practices, ecnomonic sustainability. They meet monthly and are led by a technician/scientist to help them address challenges on their individual farms. Each farmer tours the other farmer's farms to offer ideas and advice about projects, management, growth, expedite a farmer's learning curve, improve yields and viability, etc. The group acts as busines advisors to each other. Each CREA group pays a membership - a flat fee plus a fee per hectacre of production. The main CREA groups here have been within beef and dairy. The wool/lamb industry in Uruguay has seen steady declines. As there is a global demand for less dense wool and the prime breed of sheep here is Corredale with a thick wool. There has been some Austrailian Merino wool but not a large production. The challenge with changing production is in cost and farmers inability to adapt. FUCREA is concerned about new members with a farmin population that has been aging. Fruit growers are new to FUCREA but have seen the benefits of sharing best practices.