Day seven for the VALOR Fellows consisted of lots of travel. Up early and a quick breakfast. Then on the bus for the trip to the airport. Fly, change planes, fly again, another bus and finally the hotel in beautiful El Calafate.
Just as the sun sets and reflects off Lake Argentno, today’s travel provided some time for reflection for me. Reflection about our visit here in Argentina and about my personal journey as a VALOR Fellow. I have considered a few things today and wanted to share some random numbers with you. Some or maybe all are random pieces of data that mean little or nothing but I am hopeful that some will be at least a little interesting.
Argentina population is slightly more than 42 Million.
Virginia population is slightly more than 8 Million.
Buenos Aires metro area population is about 13 Million.
Argentina’s highest point is Cerro Chalten is 11,171 ft.
Virginia’s highest point is Moumt Rogers 5,729 ft.
Lake Argentino, adjacent to El Calafate is Argentinas Largest lake and approximately 2,400 deep at its deepest point.
These numbers may hold some interest but certainly are not world changing bits of information. However, as I reflected today on both my experiences here in Argentina and of my time as a Fellow some very important numbers become evident.
We have visited numerous and varied producers here, cattle farmers, sheep farmers, grain producers, a winery and more. When asked about the greatest challenge they face going into the future, the response is the same without exception, 100% answer…
Government, from lack of policy support to tax and import issues to an inadequate infrastructure to transport agriculture products effectively. Most if not all are not optimistic that it will change in the near future. Why, they have no effective voice.
This brings me to the final number of the day – 10. Ten fellows in the inaugural class of VALOR. Ten is the start of insuring that Virginia agriculture will have that voice, a network of advocates working with legislators, industry leaders , organizations and others to solve problems. Now is the time for class II to be selected and begin their journey.
It is important that Virginia and U. S. Farmers always have an effective voice.
Applications are due By the end of March.