Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Grain power

On page 18, I note that the "Big Five" grain companies -- Cargill, Continental, Louis Dreyfus, Bunge y Born, and Andre -- "have strategic advantages over smaller companies concerning the grain flow through the system, facility locations, processing capabilities and vertical integration."

This map is a good visualization of those strategic advantages, especially the positioning of grain elevators within/along the stream of commerce. It was produced in 1995 and based upon information obtained through a Freedom of Information Act Request. Cargill's grain elevators are represented by green dots and total 243. Continental's elevators are represented by red dots and total 83. All of the other competitors' elevators are represented by blue dots and are not counted. They are clearly very numerous, but this fact is outweighed in importance by their distance from the marketing and distribution centers.

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