The Des Moines Register from Des Moines, Iowa on August 31, 1975 · Page 54
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August 31, 1975

A Publisher Extra Newspaper

The Des Moines Register from Des Moines, Iowa · Page 54

Des Moines, Iowa
Issue Date:
Sunday, August 31, 1975
Page 54
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Page 54 article text (OCR)

FARM REGISTER The scandal that hurt everyone Bv JAMES RISSER NEW ORLEANS, LA. - The New Orleans grain inspection scandal, which so far has produced federal grand jury indictments against 52 individuals and companies, has focused attention on the entire farm-to-overseas-market handling of U.S. export grains. Each year, millions of bushels of Iowa corn and soybeans pass through the eight giant New Orleans export elevators — and end up on nearly every continent on the globe. '. The journey typically begins when an Iowa farmer delivers his crop to a nearby country elevator. From there, it goes by truck or rail to one of the elevator and bargeloading facilities on the Mississippi River. At the Farmers Grain Dealers Association (FGDA) elevator at Muscatine, la., for example, 15 semi-trailer trucks an hour can be emptied into the 485,000-bushel facility. Later, the grain is piped aboard 50,000-hush- el barges to begin the 1,000-mile trip down the Mississippi. When the strings of barges arrive, the grain is unloaded into the export elevators, where it eventually is inspected, graded, weighed and put aboard ocean vessels. More than one-third of all U.S. export grain per through the New Orleans port. The St. Charles Elevator Co., of Destrehan, La., shown here, has a storage capacity of 6.25-million bushels and can load 60,000-bushels-per-hour onto export ships. Inspections of grain at the St. Charles elevator are conducted by federally-licensed inspectors of the South Louisiana Port Inspection and Weighing Board. The intensive investigation of the New Orleans-area elevators and the five inspection agencies which serve them has caused new concern among Iowa farmers and elevator operators. At UK Farmers Grain Dealers Association facility in Muscatine, la., a semi is unloaded by means of hydrualic lift. The grain is stored in the elevator widl it b shipped down river by barge. Elevator has a capacity of 485,000 bushels. This is the front gate of the St. Charles Grain Elevator Co. at Destrehan, La., owned by Archer-Daniels-Midland Co., and Garnac Grain Co. Security has been stepped up in wake of recent inspection scandals. Tales of misgrading, misweighing, adulteration of grain with foreign material, and large- scale grain thefts are upsetting to farmers who know that their credibility as producers, and U.S. role as the leading grain exporter, are at stake. President Ford, in his recent speech at the Iowa State Fair, pledged to clean up grain inspection. The administration, however, has resisted congressional proposals for either federal or federal-state grain inspection, and appears committed to tougher USDA surveillance of the existing private inspection agencies. Photos by THOMAS DEFEO (TOP) These controls for "pelican" samplers inside South Louisiana Weighing Board office were allegedly tampered with to allow inferior grain to be sold. (BOTTOM) lowan Harlan Ryan, USDA grain supervisor in New Orleans, shows rust chips taken from ship which was to be loaded with grain. It did not pass inspection. Soybeans flow into the holds of SS Holtbom at St. Charles company. A grain inspector ruled on the day of loading that one of the holds contained rust chips and he would not let it be loaded until it was cleaned. This view of the vessel is from the wheel house. Grain from one of the giant elevators in New Orleans flows into the bold of a ship for export to Europe. The SS Holthorn, a Norwegian freighter, is loaded with soybeans bound for a for* eign port. Derricks at right control flow of grain into vessel.

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