Good news everyone! The August/September issue of Feed & Grain has been sent off to the presses. You can expect your issue in just a few weeks. For those who don’t get a physical copy of Feed & Grain, the digital edition will be on the website shortly.
This week’s top stories are…
- Second Man Pleads Guilty in Massive Corn Theft Case
- Monsanto Withdraws Bids to Grow GMO Crops in Europe
- Illinois Man Dies in Grain Bin Accident
- US Is Conducting Secondary Review of Smithfield Deal
- Southern States Cooperative® Announces New Growth Strategy
I’ve been following this story for months, and every time I bring it up, it elicits the same reaction. “What?” followed by “Who steals corn?” Well, that’s what these three men did. Cody Samuel Lasiter has not pleaded nor had a trial yet, but according to statements from Arno Gene Graves and Daniel Duane Moon, the other two men involved, this is what happened: After the plant’s hours of operation and on weekends, Moon would drive his truck up and Graves and Lasiter would fill it with corn. Graves and Lasiter would then falsify the records and Moon would drive it down the road to another grain elevator and sell it. They ended up stealing a staggering amount of corn — more than 12 million pounds, estimated to be worth $1.5 million. That’s a lot of money, but Graves and Lasiter claim they only got a few hundred dollars a load. Either way, they’re facing at least a few years in prison.
Being the face of GMOs can’t be fun these days with things heating up over the controversial issue. That was the case when Monsanto withdrew its bids to sell some of its GM seeds with the European Union. The company cited its reasons as a lack of demand, slow approval process and that they were content to sell their non-GM seeds. Those all sound like good reasons to me, but some anti-GMO sources around the internet seem to think Monsanto is running scared.
This shows just how much these accidents can affect the industry. Our top story from last week makes another appearance this week. We once again, we wish to extend our condolences to Roy L. McCarty’s family and friends and to remind you that it only takes an instant to be engulfed in grain. So, please be safe out there. Have a harness, lifeline and observer anytime you enter a grain bin.
The Smithfield deal is rubbing a lot of people the wrong way. The only ones that seem to support it are Smithfield’s board of directors and Shuanghui International Holdings Ltd. So far, Smithfield has had to deal with government inquires, their own shareholders calling them out and even small share owners suing. Smithfield makes a good point. They are a business, and their job is to make as much money as possible. They insist that this will not allow Chinese pork into the United States (which is good given China’s suspicious food safety record), but that still means more of our pork will be shipped out of the country, leaving us with the byproducts. Only time will tell if this is a national security risk, like some are suggesting.
This is a fairly standard business story, but with a very large business. Southern States Cooperative® is restructuring their wholesale and retail business in order to make them more efficient. This story does follow a theme in modern agriculture, the focus on efficiency. Everyone is scrambling to feed an estimated 9 billion people by the year 2050 (which we are not projected to make at current improvement levels), and efficiency is one of the top weapons in that fight. Hopefully this change in structure gets us closer to feeding all those people.
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