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A Short History and Production Statistics of Grain and Food Companies for Railfans

Since early September 1997, grain car loadings on the major railroads have averaged 23,250 cars per week. This is down nearly 20 percent from the average weekly loadings during the same period in 1995. Weekly loadings on these carriers (BNSF,UP,KCS) are averaging 16,300 cars per week, down 17 percent or nearly 3,500 car loads per week from the same weeks in 1995. Since early September, rail shipments of grain to export elevators have averaged 6,000 cars per week. At Texas Gulf facilities, rail car shipments of grain have averaged 2,100 car per week since September.

Winter fruit imports, particularly from Latin America, have risen steadily for more than a decade, due in part to both growing ethnic populations and consumers' increased health consciousness. And foreign producers have complementary growing seasons. Excluding bananas, fresh fruit imports rose 125% from 1992 to 2002 - 53% since 1997 - to a record 2.3 million tons last year and now account for one-fifth of the fruit consumed by Americans. The most successful player has been Chile, with a growing season almost opposite to the United States' and now America's top supplier of foreign fruit. Chile and Mexico together accounted for nearly half of all fresh and frozen fruit imports last winter, according to the Agriculture Department.

Texas produces about 500 million bushels (147,000 hopper cars) of grain each year. Almost 70% comes from the high plains in the Amarillo and Lubbock areas. Only about 28% is wheat, the rest is feed grain (corn, sorghum).

Of the wheat moving through Texas, over 80% is going for export along the Gulf Coast. 10% of the wheat is going to Fort Worth for milling. 15% of this wheat comes from Texas, 55% from Kansas, 15% from Oklahoma and 5% from Colorado.

Of the corn moving through Texas 32% is going to feed lots in the Amarillo and Lubbock areas, 22% to San Antonio, 21% to Houston, and 17% to Fort Worth. Most of this comes from Nebraska 44%, Iowa 13%, Kansas 11%, Illinois 9% and Texas 8%.

In 2001, 670,000 tons, or about 29% of U.S. wheat exports to Mexico went by rail. Union Pacific is the major grain hauling railroad into Mexico, accounting for 61% in 2001. Tex Mex was the second largest wheat handling railroad going into Mexico with 27%. The BNSF ranked third with 13%. Sixty-five percent of the wheat shipped from the United States into Mexico goes through Laredo. The UP handled 59% of that wheat, while Tex Mex hauled 41%.

The new $26 million Cook Industries Grain Elevator in Galveston was completed in 1976. Farmers Export Company purchased the elevator the following year.

Each year, more than 6,400 vessels and 150,000 barges call at the port. The Port of Houston handled 177.6 million tons of cargo in 2002. Houston ranked No. 1 in the U.S. in total foreign tonnage with 115.2 million tons. Besides two liquid-cargo terminals that are privately owned but operated for public use, the Port of Houston handles bulk cargo at Public Elevator No.2, located within the Woodhouse Terminal. Completed in 1979, the elevator is one of the newest and more modern export elevators in the country, with a rated storage capacity of 6.2 million bushels and a maximum rated loading capability of 120,000 bushels per hour. The 6.2 million-bushel capacity Houston Public Grain Elevator #2 is an efficient, modern export facility. With a maximum rated loading capability of 120,000 bushels an hour. The facility is fully automated, allowing operators full control of all equipment. With three rail pits the terminal can handle 30 cars an hour.

Louis Dreyfus Corp. (headquartered in Paris, France, Louis Dreyfus operates 47 vessels worldwide - bulk carriers, lakers, panamaxes, and chemical and natural gas carriers) leases and operates the Port of Beaumont, Texas�s elevator, which has a design loading capacity of 80,000 bushels per hour. With one berth and three loading spouts, the elevator can accommodate 3.5 million bushels of grain. Beaumont also has a rail-to-ship bulk transfer facility. Operated by TGS/BBT, the facility is capable of simultaneous discharge of two railcars and an average discharge rate 116 cars or 10,000 metric tons per day.

Cargill is #1 U.S. grain trader/exporter (25% of market, which is equivalent to Cargill exporting 25.1 million tons or 1.0 billion bushels of grain). Owner of grain elevators 340 elevators. Cargill raises 350,000 hogs, 12 million turkeys, and 312 million broiler chickens. In the United States, it owns 420 barges, 11 towboats, 2 huge vessels that sail the Great Lakes, 12 ocean-going ships, 2,000 railroad hopper cars, and 2,000 tank cars. Cargill and its subsidiaries operate 800 plants. It has 500 U.S. offices, 300 foreign offices. It operates in 60 countries.

Continental Grain
Continental Grain is #2 U.S. grain trader/exporter (20% of market). Is #1 world cattle feedlot operator (7 feedlots in southwestern and plains states of United States. Continental processes and markets 2 billion pounds of poultry, beef, pork, and seafood, along with 5 million tons of animal feeds and wheat flour. The company transports nearly 75 million tons of grains, oilseeds, rice, cotton, and energy products annually. Continental owns a fleet of towboats and 500 river barges. It owns over 1,500 hopper cars. It has offices and plants in 50 countries, on six continents.

Bunge and Born
Is #1 U.S. dry corn miller (through its subsidiary, Lauhoff Grain) (18% of the market). Bunge operates 50 grain elevators in the United States, most of them located along the Mississippi River from St. Louis to New Orleans. It also has a giant grain export elevator in Quebec City, Canada.

Is headquartered in Decatur, IL. It is #1 U.S. soybean crusher (between 30 and 35% of market); #1 U.S. wet corn miller (approximately 50% of market); #1 world processor of combined grain and oil seed; #1 world producer of ethanol; #1 U.S. producer of corn-based additive (60% of market); #2 U.S. flour miller (23% of market); #2 in U.S. grain elevator capacity; #3 U.S. dry corn miller, through subsidiary Krause Milling (10% of market).

Is headquartered in Omaha, NE. It is #1 U.S. flour miller (24% of market); #1 U.S. sheep slaughterer (33% of market), through Sipco and Montfort meats; #2 U.S. beef slaughterer (20% of market); #2 U.S. pork slaughterer; #4 U.S. dry corn miller (8% of market). Major brands: Hunt's Tomato Sauce and Ketchup; Wesson Oil; Banquet TV dinners; Armour, Swift, Eckrich, and Hebrew National meats; Healthy Choice foods; Orville Redenbacher popcorn; Peter Pan peanut butter; LaChoy Chinese foods; Swiss Miss cocoa; Reddi-Whip whip cream.

Is the #1 world producer of ice cream; #1 world producer of margarine; one of the top five world exporters of dry milk powder. Brand names: Breyers, Good Humor, Klondike, Magnum, Carte D'Or, and Popsicle brands ice cream; Bird's Eye and Iglo frozen foods; Rag� and Chicken Tonight pasta and meal sauces; Lipton Tea and Brooke Bond Tea (leading European tea company); Lipton soups; Continental Cup-a-Soup; Country Crock, Blue Bonnett, Flora, Becel and Rama margarines; Bertoli and La Masia olive oil; Wishbone salad dressing; Boursin and Milkana cheeses; Bon Vivant cookies; Pepsodent, Close-Up, and Mentadent tooth pastes; Dove, Lux, and Lever soaps; Wisk and Surf laundry detergents; Vaseline Intensive Care, Pond's Cold Cream, Elizabeth Arden, Faberg� (Brut, Chloe) and Calvin Klein skin care cosmetics.

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