Sussex County Delaware

Carper Wants
Protections for
Soybean Industry

From Gov. Carper's Office ...

DOVER -- In an effort to protect Delaware's top growing crop, Gov. Thomas R. Carper urged U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman to support an initiative that would boost the state's soybean industry.

In a letter to Secretary Glickman on Tuesday, June 6, 2000, Gov. Carper urged him to intercede on behalf of Delaware soybean farmers and request that the Department of Justice approve the purchase of a Norfolk, Va., soybean processing plant to Perdue Farms Inc. to help offset the closing of the Townsend's soybean processing plant in Millsboro.

Townsend's closed its soybean processing plant earlier this year. The closing cost Delaware farmers an annual demand of 12 million bushels of soybeans in a state whose 1,200 soybean farmers annually produce more than 7 million bushels. Soybean is the state's top growing crop and the No. 2 agriculutural commodity behind poultry.

Gov. Carper said that Perdue's plans to operate the Norfolk facility at full capacity with an annual demand of 25 million bushels of soybean would more than offset the loss of the Townsend's plant and that Delaware soybean farmers' season depends largely on approval of the Perdue purchase by the U.S. Department of Justice.

The department has been reviewing the purchase for four months.

"Soybean farmers in Delaware and the upper Eastern Shore of Maryland face an uncertain future," said Gov. Carper in his letter to Secretary Glickman. "... As such, it is imperative that the pending sale receives the approval of the Justice Department. Unfortunately, Justice has been very slow in approving the proposed sale -- the issue has been under review at Justice for 110 days to date.

"As you are aware, soybean growers in general are being severely impacted by very low commodity prices. You may remember visiting the mid-Atlantic region last summer when you witnessed first-hand the devastating effect of the drought on our soybean farmers. The impact of these events has been compounded by the uncertainty they face with respect to the sale of the Norfolk Cargill plant to Perdue.

"I ask you to intercede on behalf of our growers and request the Department of Justice to proceed in approving the sale of the Cargill Norfolk facility to Perdue ... Quick action is needed to assist our growers."

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