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agricultural economics, transportation, grain production, marketing patterns


U.S. Agriculture is going through a transition. Federal spending on farm programs is being curtailed and agricultural policies are being modified to make production of farm commodities responsive to market forces. In this competitive environment, efforts on the part of the commodity groups for market development are becoming increasingly more important. However, in order to devise any market development plan for a commodity, understanding of the present status of the marketing system is important. At the minimum, one needs to know the methods of purchase and sale, types of buyers, shipment destinations, and transportation modes for the commodity. These aspects of grain marketing in South Dakota have not been studied for last three decades. In order to fill this void, a study on grain marketing patterns in South Dakota was launched. Since a large proportion of the grain is handled by grain elevators, the data on grain marketing patterns were collected through a mail survey of the grain elevators in South Dakota. The specific objectives of the survey were to identify: the quantities of grain handled, alternative methods of sale and purchase, major destinations, and relative importance of alternative modes of transportation for the grain handled by the elevators in South Dakota. Through this survey, researchers sought information on the marketing patterns for spring wheat, winter wheat, oats, barley, corn, soybeans, and sunflower seeds for the marketing year 1994-95. The survey forms were mailed to all 275 grain elevators in the state during the spring of 1996. One hundred twenty useable responses were returned. The responding elevator managers' locations were well distributed in the state. This publication is devoted to documenting more detailed results relating to spring wheat and winter wheat. For both spring and winter wheat, the data on marketing patterns are presented by region based on the USDA's crop reporting districts in South Dakota (Figure 1). Most of the discussion of the marketing patterns is on the state level. However, the regional differences in the marketing patterns, when present, are also discussed. In order to keep individual responses confidential, it was necessary that the data for regions with few respondents are reported only after combining with adjoining regions. Accordingly, in case of spring wheat, West Central region is consolidated with the Central region, and Southwest region is incorporated with South Central region. Similarly, in case of winter wheat, Southwest region is consolidated with South Central region. Following the introduction, Section 2 of this report is devoted to discussing the spring wheat marketing patterns in the state. Specifically, the quantities of spring wheat handled by the elevators, alternative methods of purchase and sale of spring wheat employed by the elevators, major types of buyers for spring wheat sold by the elevators, major destinations of spring wheat shipped by the elevators, and the relative importance of alternative modes of transportation for spring wheat shipped by the elevators are presented. Similarly, Section 3 is devoted to discussing the winter wheat marketing patterns in the state. A brief summary of the results is presented in Section 4.


Economics Research Report No. 97-2