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Speaking through an interpreter, Lorenzatti says that after selling a grain elevator, the company used the money to buy land in marginal production areas in both the northern and southern part of Argentina. With the Cordoba headquarters roughly in the middle, it is 1,200 miles from the northernmost farm to the one in the south.
“We went outside the Pampas because we see an opportunity to increase those land values. Here in Cordoba, land is valuable but it’s rare to have a significant increase in land values. Land rents here are very high,” he says.
“In Chaco, the northern portion, we’re putting in a mixed production system based on soybeans, wheat, corn, sunflowers, grain sorghum and cattle. In the native forest, we cannot do anything, so we are exploring the environmental services market as a contribution to biodiversity.”
Far to the south, almost in remote Patagonia, the company is expanding into Rio Negro Province, which is totally different from the subtropical northern region.
“It is very dry, almost desert, similar to western Kansas. The only way to grow crops there is with irrigation. The water comes from the river, which is fed by snowmelt. We’re trying a new type of irrigation system for us, center pivots plus subsurface drip. We are testing both. Those two systems are more efficient than traditional furrow irrigation,” Lorenzatti says.
“Right now we’re in a phase where we’re evaluating the systems. If we’re successful, we will capture value by developing irrigation in the region. By doing that, real estate values will increase.”