Richard Manning: “Against The Grain”

“Archer Daniels Midland, conduit of food and images of food, with fifteen thousand owned railcars, two thousand barges, a hundred oceangoing vessels, and a leased network of five million trucks and five hundred thousand railcars moving wheat, corn and soybeans to 269 processing plants.  Woven amid the rails and pipes is an integral web of effectively owned and leased politicians and news organizations.

Archer Daniels is not alone in this picture; it is just the standard-bearer.  Still, the list of food processors is not terribly long.  Five companies – Cargill, Incorporated; Continental Grain Co. (recently renamed ContiGroup Companies); Louis Dreyfus; Andre & Cie; and the Bunge & Born Group – control about 75 percent of the corn market. Four companies – Archer Daniels; Cargill; Bunge ; and Continental Grain – control about 80 percent of soybean processing, both in the United States and globally.  A single co-op, Ag Processing Inc., accounts for another 5 to 10 percent in the United States.”

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