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From farm to market: St. Louis’ competitiveness, infrastructure impossible to separate

From farm to market: St. Louis’ competitiveness, infrastructure impossible to separate
June 20, 2018 Evan Glantz

This story was originally published in West Newsmagazine on June 6, 2018.


Jim Erickson | West Newsmagazine


“There’s no doubt the St. Louis area has played a big role in moving soybeans produced in Missouri and other nearby states into world markets. But maintaining that position is far from a sure thing.

Speakers at the recent Freightweek STL conference at America’s Center in downtown St. Louis emphasized that point. And while it may be next to impossible to overcome some of the factors involved, issues such as investing in infrastructure improvements and maintaining leadership in plant research are within the control of national, regional and local decision-makers.

Numbers tell much of the story, according to Brian Burke, who manages the St. Louis office of John Stewart & Associates, a grain trading/risk management firm. Soybean exports account for more than $24 billion in U.S. economic activity, with 60 percent of the volume going through St. Louis on the way to New Orleans for loading onto ships bound for destinations around the world, he noted.

World soybean trade is expected to grow 30 percent or more by 2027 as consumption of meat in developing countries continues to increase, Burke continued. Soybean meal is a major ingredient in feed for raising livestock, as well as in rations used in fish farming…”

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