A look at C.C.P.P's history: Ninety years devoted to the agriculture and livestock activity

The origin of the Consignment activity goes back to the end of the 20th. century, (around the 60's), when the need for a group of consignees to gather with a view to share their tasks became apparent. Nevertheless, the group had more than just economic purposes in common: a "spiritual, practical and active union which presents us as a harmonious, strong and specially disciplined force" was needed.

At a time when the echoes of the anniversary of the Independence could still be heard, the members of the political class were suspicious of the reforms the President Sáenz Peña was implementing. Those were times when individualism invaded our activity, with many opportunists promoting disunion and selfishness. Unlike these days, the consignment business did not only involve bovine cattle but a broad spectrum of activities and species, ranging from wool to ostrich feathers, as well. The wool activity was indeed the one that kept up the dynamics of the economic system.

Marcando el ganado

Two years before he died in 1923, Nicolás Calvo, one of the Center's founders and former Presidents, tells his memories about his times as consignee:
"I was 25 years old when I founded my consignment agency in 1890. One day, out of the blue, I turned up in Mataderos (located at the current Parque de los Patricios) to implement a totally new idea : the auction of the cattle that had been consigned to me. At the beginning almost nobody believed the project would succeed, but later on it started gaining ground. So today those of us who prefer auction sales and those who prefer private sales can live in harmony, which was not the case at those times, when we used to oppose each other's view. Eventually, they understood that it was perfectly feasible to put both systems into practice.

At that time animals were not sold as an entire piece. The meat and fat were sold to the slaughterers and the hides and offal -that is to say, tail, legs, etc.- to other salesmen. Herds were almost always made up of 250 to 300 head cattle and were herded very long distances, even 80 or 100 leagues. Yet hey would arrive at their destination 10 or 15 days later looking as if they had just left their farms. And this was so thanks to the foremen' s proud and the pain they took to present their herds in good shape- something we usually do not see nowadays. It is also true that farms were very large then, and that, when herds were on their way , no farm owner would even think of refraining them from drinking his water or resting on his lands. The stingiest ones would at last send their own workers to help the herdsmen so that they spent less time within their farms. The prices then were really low. Peña's cows from "Tres Bolas" were sold for $4,00 to $8,00 each in Balcarce -but they were fat cows and could have been sold for $18,00 to $30,00 each; calves were sold for $3,00 to $9,00 and steers for $30,00 to $50,00. Herd was generally divided into three lots: the fattest animals were placed in two big lots while the rejects were sold at very low prices. When I started selling livestock, the suppliers, not being used to this way of selling, fiercely opposed it; but once they realized they could get better prices if the hires were taken off carefully they not only accepted it but also wanted every consignee to make sales in this way -the way they do it nowadays. Prices variation was, in proportion , even greater than it is today.
There were days when three thousand head would enter the market making it so crowded that the only solution available was to send some of the cattle to the Roca and Repetto salteries. They would come and pick the steers they wanted to buy. Herds at that time came from La Tablada after being examined in what was known as the ¨ plazoleta¨ [small square] -a big empty space located across from what is now the Nueva Pompeya Church. You entered there from Arena street, which was then the only cobbled street. It was also surrounded by very low land so when it rained it turned into fairly deep marshes. The consignees went to fetch their herds, and it was a question of pride to do so well mounted on horses which, unlike nowadays, were well tamed and nice looking. There used to be many herds of horses in the famrs. Horses were cheap and farm owners took pleasure in showing off an oustanding animal were their brand on it. Many were the beautiful horses my clients gave me as gifts, and the same can be said of my colleagues."

There used to be several markets spread over different places where the products were traded, so it was soon necessary for all of them to uniform their criteria and specialized staff so as to avoid the differences arising from the various aspects of production -differences that even today, in spite of the latest technological advances, tend to affect us. Cattle reception, weighing, unloading and legal disputes with the railways were only some of the administrative troubles each of the Consignment Agencies had to deal with at those times. There were only a few agencies which made profits from the volume of their sales. Indeed,the consignees would fight tooth and nails against the odds, which refrained them form carrying out long term projects. It was also necessary to avoid the growing tendency to overlook collective problems -which at those times post a threat to the consignment activity.
This way, the idea of creating a union that unfettered many of the consignment operations and benefited all consignees alike arouse. A large number of those consignees gathered on August 8 1912 at the old Sociedad Rural Argentina [Argentine Rural Association] unanimously approving the minute that created the center. The minute read:
"The undersigned, all of whom belong to the Consignees union, hereby agree to - and in fact go on to do declare the "Centro de Consignatarios [Consignees Center]" founded and sign the foregoing Minute as proof of such agreement. After a simple majority election they agree to and thereby grant the appointment of a Board of Directors composed of the following nine members: Jorge M. Méndez, Agustín Pegasano, Domingo Salaberry, Juan Lalor, Enrique Santamarina, Antonio Crouzel, Mariano Agüero, Víctor Castaños, Antonio Lanusse, The above named members will draft the by-laws which will rule the new institution and, to such an end, they will receive the projects and listen to the ideas and written suggestions of their colleagues. Later they will call an Assembly to which such projects and suggestions will be submitted. It is stated that the above mentioned Board is authorized to hire the services of an attorney to the purpose of giving the planned by-laws the correct legal form. In witness whereof, this meeting is ended at the headquarters of the Sociedad Rural Argentina [Argentine Rural Association] on this 2nd day of August 1912. Addendum. At this point, and to the purpose of allowing it to successfully hold its office, this Assembly has decided to grant wide powers to the appointed Board of Directors. Signatures: Ojea García y Cía., José E. Genta e Hijo, Gioja, Etchart y Patrón, Méndez Hnos. y Cía., p. Suc. de Martín Yraizos, Francisco Fernández, p.p. Juan Lalor, V. Nicolau, Roch, F. Boudieu Jr., Juan Chapar y Cía., M. D. Urquiola, Estrugamou y Cía., Beltrán Sansot, S. Abello y Cía., Noguera y Avalos, Bayona y Ferrazini, Bargo, Lascurain y Etchegaray, A. Pegasano y Podestá, Antonio Ojea y Madariaga, Dubos y Rivera Ocantos, M. Otaegui y Cía., Tomás Devoto y Cía., Juan Bayona, Bellocq e Hita, p. Gibson Hnos., Tabacco Hnos. y Cía, p. José de los Santos, S. Casouron, Rafael Reyes, Ignacio Goñi e hijos, Juan Elordy y Cía., F. B. Arzeno y Hnos., p.p. Martínez de Hoz Hnos., Bidart y Errecalde, Juan Apheca y Cía., José Luis Alvarez, Angel Velaz y Cía., A. Crouzel, Santiago Macchiavello, Pedro Estrugamou y Cía., p.a. Gabino Rodríguez, D. Goñi, F. Gay y Cía., p. Martín Silvano, F. Ballneuvecourt, Palacios Hnos., Alberto Bieule, S. G. García Anido, Sebastián Palau y Cía., Chillado Hnos. y Cía., p.p. M. Parera Martí, A. Parera Muñoz, J.M. Méndez y Cía, Serantes, Caimi y Cía., Salaberry y Bercetche, Orcoyen, Castaños y Cía., Cucullu y Cavo ".

Made up of the most important consignees of those days, the Provisional Committee surveyed each of them. Later on the results of those surveys outlined the ruling principles of the Center, which aimed mainly at easing the relationship between its members and the transport companies, markets, purchasers, producers, public authorities and the working class.
After analyzing three different alternatives concerning the financing of the Center, the Committee decided the institution would take the form of a public company, adding shares to the profits it made from its services, as well as from those of its members. Once the technical report was finished, the by laws -which had also been written by the Provisional Committee- were read to the other members. The by laws granted the first boards of directors broad powers to put the Center's main aims and projects into practice.
According to its First Articles of Incorporation, at the request of Jorge M. Méndez the first Board of Directors was approved on November the 28th . In spite of their refusal to preside it over, Antonio S. Crouzel and Mariano F. Agüero were eventually appointed President and Secretary of the First Board of Directors respectively. Once the Board had been established, the next step consisted in organizing the Center administration and appointing the delegates to the different markets and stations where, it had been decided, a member representing the new institution was absolutely necessary. As to the first issue -the Center administration-, Juan B. Echeverría was appointed Manager on January the 20th, 1913, and held this office until he was forced to retire in 1953. However, he had to quit representing 92 consignment agencies and resign his office as Procurator. Finally, the delegations were appointed as follows: Juan R. Lanusse, Juan B. de la Canal - who died in July that same year and was replaced by Melchor Bellini - and Agustín Lizarralde at Mataderos; Juan Bayona, Carlos Caimi and Bernardo Curutchet in the Wool area of the Mercado Central de Frutos [ Fruit Central Market]; Jacinto Díaz, Andrés Lascurain and José María Echenique in the Hides area of the same Market; Benjamín Nogueras, Severo Palacios and Tomás Ojea at the Corn Exchange and Faraón Delfino, Jacinto Jáuregui and Alejandro Cascallares at La Tablada Market. Furthermore, Angel Sojo was appointed Legal Advisor, with Salvador Oría soon joining him in his duty.
This way, the C.C.P.P. was ready to start its history.