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grain transportation report

Grains, Trains and Global Success

Fall is harvest time and our rural communities are bustling with activity.  For American soybean farmers the days start in the early dawn, and they stay until the last light is gone, tending fields that seem to stretch to the end of the world.  But success for them relies on more than just growing a good crop.  Their soybeans must also move efficiently from the fields to the far corners of the world.

Helping farmers understand the importance and impact of transportation trends is one of the services provided by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS).  AMS helps growers and exporters by gathering agricultural transportation data for a wide array of publications that are available to everyone on our agricultural transportation website.

Following the Rails: USDA Tracks Agricultural Exports Across the Border

Driving down a rural road, admiring the expansive fields of corn and soybeans, I stopped at a rail crossing to wait for what seemed like an endless train of cars filled with grain.  My idle mind wondered, where are all those tons of grain headed, where was its final destination?  For anyone else, it may just be curiosity. But for me and those who work in my division within USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), it’s our job to answer those questions.

We understand that for stakeholders within the agricultural industry—farmers, grain mill operators, shippers and exporters—the answers are critical.  Sound business decisions require knowledge about what is happening with the transportation of agricultural products, both in the domestic and international marketplace.

AMS Releases Grain Transportation Data in Raw Format

The United States proudly touts a long history of grain production and is the top exporter of grain in the world. Half of our wheat, almost 40 percent of soybeans and almost a fifth of our corn are exported.  That’s why for over a decade the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service has been tracking and gathering datasets for grain transportation, including prices, deliveries, movements, sales and freight rates, and now, for the first time, we’ve released our historic data in an excel  format.