Deep Freeze Upends U.S. Agriculture Markets From Grains to Beef
Traders say it’s hard to get grain to Pacific Northwest ports
Tyson, STX Beef shut meat processing plants in Texas
By Isis Almeida and Kim Chipman, Bloomberg
February 16, 2021
The deep freeze that has left almost five million Americans without power is snarling shipments of goods from corn to soybeans, shutting meat plants and curbing ethanol production.
Traders say it’s increasingly hard to move grain to ports in the Pacific Northwest, and ice warnings are restricting navigation on the Illinois River. Energy costs soared, prompting some ethanol and soybean processing plants to slow down, said the traders, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. Cargill Inc. is curbing energy use while Archer-Daniels-Midland Co. slowed production at several locations due to gas shortages. Tyson Foods Inc. was among meat producers forced to shut plants in Texas.
The Arctic freeze gripping the central part of the U.S. comes just as China is loading up on American crops. The world’s largest commodities importer has already bought a record amount of corn, while soybean purchases are running at their fastest pace in three decades. Combined shipments of U.S. corn and soybeans climbed to a new peak in the fourth quarter, driven by China.
“I am hearing of delayed shipments of soybeans and grain due to the extreme winter weather,” said Mike Steenhoek, executive director lobby group Soy Transportation Coalition in Iowa...
Cargill, the world’s largest agricultural commodities trader, is reducing its energy usage and working with suppliers and customers to minimize disruptions...
... STX Beef’s cattle-processing facility in Corpus Christi, Texas, was closed Monday and Tuesday due to “current power outages and the adverse weather we are currently experiencing,” the company said in a post on its Facebook page. Tyson shut down its plant in Amarillo.