On Friday, November 16, the Valor team had an invitation from Gerry Underwood, to visit Perdue’s deep-water grain terminal located in Norfolk, Virginia. Mr. Underwood was raised in the Midwest before attending the University of Illinois. His academic achievements include a B.S. Degree in Agriculture and a Masters Degree in Business Administration. Gerry is currently working as the Head Merchant at Perdue Agribusiness managing grain trade and essential logistics of grain products. He has 40 years of work experience at this deep-water grain terminal, the only one on the Atlantic Coast.
The VALOR team arrived mid morning after stopping by Royal Fumigation in Suffolk, Virginia. Perdue Agribusiness (Perdue) uses the pest control services of Royal Fumigation to assist in quality control. A second component of Perdue’s quality control is managed by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS). Mr. Underwood emphasized that grain quality is a critical component in price negotiations. Because grain can “go out of condition” during transport, it is beneficial for buyers and sellers to know the most current official grade on any inbound or outbound grain shipments. Paul Caruso, a VDACS grain inspector, joined our group during the discussion of quality control. Mr. Caruso inspects grain quality before the product is shipped out of Perdue’s deep-water grain terminal. His inspections meet the United State Department of Agriculture (USDA) requirements for quality assessment and certification for both inbound and outbound shipments.
Mr. Underwood continued the discussion by describing Perdue’s logistics of grain and oil seed products by truck, railcar, barge and ship. Perdue maintains a fleet of trucks, railcars and barges from the Eastern Midwest throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. This terminal allows Perdue to ship grain and oil seed products to clients around the world.
We all appreciated Mr. Underwood and Mr. Caruso taking time from their normal schedule to meet with the VALOR team. The technology used to load and monitor the ship that day was impressive. We thank them for the backstage pass.
To follow my continued progress and path to advocate for farming in Virginia, you can find me on Facebook at Facebook.com/hunter.b.richardson or on Twitter as @Plainviewfarmer and @VAleadersOR and through the VALOR blog.