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Grain Merchants

History

Trading grain in the past was relatively simple. Farmers sold their wheat, corn, oats, barley, and rice in the public market in their town. People bought enough grain to meet their families' needs, and farmers purchased grain for their animals. As grain production grew, firms that purchased, stored, processed, and transported grains were established. In certain cities with good transportation facilities, such as Chicago and Kansas City, grain exchanges where grain merchants could buy and sell their commodities were established.

Today the buying and selling of grain is a complicated process involving farmers, merchants, food processors, and consumers. Grain merchants have played a vital role in making this process more efficient. Farmers, unlike factories, can only harvest their crops when they are ripe, but consumers need their produce all year round. By purchasing, processing, transporting, and storing grain until other buyers can be found, grain merchants facilitate the smooth flow of the commodity all year round, during times of both shortages and surpluses. This results in a fair market price for the farmer and a steady supply of food for the consumer.