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Happy Ending to Imported Barley Flap

June 04, 1998|Martha Groves

Penny-Newman Grain Co. of Fresno is enjoying a happy ending to the weeks-long flap over its $3-million purchase of subsidized Finnish barley. By Friday, the regional grain firm expects workers at the Port of Richmond to have unloaded the 34,000 tons of feed grain, according to Kevin Hiedeman, the firm's head commodity trader. The April purchase by Penny-Newman angered domestic growers, who said the subsidized grain could wreck the U.S. market for them by lowering prices. After they protested, the U.S. Department of Agriculture retaliated by agreeing to send 34,000 tons of subsidized barley to three foreign markets that traditionally buy from European growers. A few U.S. growers last week staged a modest protest first at the Port of Stockton, where the ship was expected to dock, and later at Richmond, where nonunion workers have spent a week unloading the grain into 200 trucks a day.

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