Long Beach export tour kicks off 2014 California Alfalfa and Grains Symposium

The 2014 California Alfalfa and Grains Symposium started with a bang Dec. 10 in Long Beach, Calif. with an export tour with stops at the Los Angeles Harbor Grain Terminal (LAHGT), Anderson Hay, and ACX Global.

Prior to the tour, Joel Perier of the Port of Long Beach told the several hundred folks on the tour that the Port of Long Beach is the second largest port in the U.S., behind the Port of Los Angeles. The Long Beach port opened in 1911.

Most trade through the port is with countries in Asia. About two-thirds of it involves Chinese imports. The port is a huge economic driver in the region generating more than 300,000 jobs and about $16 billion in wages.

Improvements continue to be made at the port, including preparing areas to handle larger ocean vessels, improving the port’s rail system, and going more ‘green.’

At the LAHGT facility, Vice-President Dwight Robinson said the company exports primarily agricultural products, including grains, grain byproducts, alfalfa and grassy hays, and other crops, occasionally including almond hull meal and grape pumice. The 55-year-old company has an almond hull grinder onsite.

LAHGT handles about 20,000 containers annually.

At Anderson Hay, the group toured the company’s busy hay compress area as equipment and workers moved hay from place to place and machine to machine. Staff with Anderson said the company goal is to handle 250,000 tons per year at the facility. A truck delivers hay about every four minutes.

All hay is tested for quality in the field before delivery to the compress. Hay is delivered in a timely fashion to create a ‘just-in-time’ inventory so product is delivered, pressed, and moved to export vessels.

Japan is a major importer of hay, including small bales for smaller dairies in Japan and larger bales for larger Japanese dairies.

Anderson exports hay and grain to about 30 countries. Among its largest importers include Japan, United Arab Emirates (UAE), China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, and India.

Anderson is a family operation founded in 1971. The company was the first to export hay to Asia.

Basically across the road from Anderson was ACX Global, founded in 1978. It operates 24 hours per day, six days a week.

ACX is the largest hay exporter in the U.S. All ACX locations in the U.S. combined ship from 500,000 to 750,000 tons of hay annually.

In the hay export business, one ACX speaker said the physical appearance of hay is about as important as hay quality.

Alfalfa hay makes up about two-thirds of the ACX hay shipped with grass hay and others making up the other third. Prime destinations include China, Japan, and the UAE.

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