Perdue Sets Up Shop in Brazil to Buy Soybeans, Corn for Export

(Bloomberg) -- Perdue Farms Inc., the fourth-largest U.S. chicken processor, is setting up a merchandising office in Brazil to buy and export corn, soybeans and other agricultural commodities for international customers year-round -- a bid to strengthen its position as a global grain trader.

Its Perdue AgriBusiness unit is opening its first international office in Sao Paulo, according to a statement Thursday from the Salisbury, Maryland-based company, which has a presence in the Middle East, South America, Africa and Asia for other parts of its food business. The move is designed to enhance access to farmers in Brazil and provide the trader with supplies from the Southern Hemisphere that are harvested during different times than in the U.S.

“We’ll have access to South American soybeans and grain when our ability to purchase domestic grain is limited,” Dick Willey, president of Perdue AgriBusiness, said in the statement. “We’ve wanted to establish a direct presence in Brazil for a long time and believe that now is a good time.”

Over the last decade, Brazil has continued to expand agricultural land and has become the world’s second-largest soybean grower and third-largest corn producer. It has attracted investments from large grain traders, including Archer-Daniels-Midland Co., which have diversified their footprints to meet demand from Asia with surpluses from the Americas.

Perdue AgriBusiness’ operations include buying, trading and processing grains, oilseeds, soybean meal, feed ingredients and seed oils. It ships commodities through its ports in Virginia and other parts of the U.S., and about a third of the unit’s sales come from exports.