Brazil feeding U.S. need for soybeans

Two ocean freighters are slowly making their way from southern ports in Brazil to ports on the East Coast of the United States.

While thousands of such ships dock each year at U.S. ports after trips partway around the globe, these particular vessels, the Maia and the CS Chara, are loaded with soybeans. They were harvested earlier this year in Brazil and will be part of a series of shiploads to dock at U.S. ports and unload their soybeans, destined to become soybean meal for livestock feed and soybean oil, possibly for biodiesel production.

While hundreds of ships loaded with soybeans make their way annually to China from Brazilian and U.S. ports, there is irony in the Brazilian beans coming to the United States. Although U.S. farmers produced 3.29 billion bushels of soybeans last year, the third largest soybean crop ever, U.S. soybean exporters sold more soybeans than the U.S. Department of Agriculture expected. With soybean crushers also running at capacity for the year, the USDA now expects the supply of soybeans to be a drop in the bucket before the 2014 crop is ready for harvest.»