For the most part, the "Occupy movement" has been off agriculture's radar. They apparently exist to stand up and fight for the "99%" of us who are not in the top income brackets.
Okay, that seems noble enough. Even so, these folks seem pretty confused in the ways they are trying to meet their goals. I don't think they clearly understand who they are helping and who they are hurting.
Case in point: it appears they want to set up camp next Monday in Oakland, Los Angeles and Seattle, to try to shut down ports where we ship out farm goods.
So apparently the Occupy Movement also wants to harm farmers and truckers. Pretty sure those folks are in the 99% category.
The Pacific Northwest, including Seattle, is the second largest region for soybean exports says Mike Steenhoek, executive director at the Soy Transportation Coalition. In 2010, the Pacific Northwest accommodated 375 million bushels of soybeans (26% of total), 392 million bushels of corn (21% of total), and 406 million bushels of wheat (52% of total).
Only the Middle Gulf is more important for soybean and corn exports. During this time of the year, around 5-10 million bushels of soybeans are exported each week from the Pacific Northwest. During the months of October and November, between 15-25 million bushels are exported each week.
After the South American harvest comes online in late February and March, soybean exports total, including from the Pacific Northwest, fall dramatically - perhaps a million bushels a week. While the current time of the year is not the peak period for soybean exports out of the Pacific Northwest, the months of December, January, and February are nonetheless very important.
"It's a bit ironic that an organization that presents itself as representing the 99% is planning a series of actions that will possibly harm farmers, rural Americans, customers in Asia who are finally able to incorporate more protein into their diets, port workers, truck drivers and a host of others who are most assuredly not among the wealthy 1%," says Steenhoek.