The U.S. is the world’s biggest producer of corn. To put this in its most basic perspective, corn is a major foundation of our economy. We export oceans of the stuff. The portion we feed to livestock keeps meat affordable. So I was struck by a press release I read the other day. A ship containing four trainloads of Brazilian corn had docked at Port Manatee, near Tampa, Fla., to sell to American customers, for animal feed.
Hello? What kind of bad dream is this? We sell you corn, you being the rest of the world. And yet it has come to this. This year’s corn crop, affected by drought, is down 13 percent from that of 2011, and is the smallest since 2006. Interstate Commodities Inc. plans to import 10,000 truckload equivalents of corn through Port Manatee.
Now the good news, for railroads, at least: CSX will deliver this corn throughout its network and elsewhere in the U.S. Still, you have to wonder: What is going on, for this to happen? Your comments are welcomed. — Fred W. Frailey