Journey To The USA

excerptChicagoThe huge butcher's warehouses with their cattle enclosures lie on a surface of more than 160 hectares. The number of cattle that are cut every year is 10 million, worth 250 million dollars.The meat thus obtained is used partly as food, partly as export produce. Although the butcher's warehouse. is equipped with mechanical appliances, every day 25,000 workers are occupied feeding the cattle, making sausages, bacon and all sorts of meat products. The figures that we present here are taken from the registers of the factory and they speak for themselves; they fill us on about how important a big enterprise is.As already shown, most industrial enterprises in Chicago are huge; it is the same with trade, especially the cereals trade; the thousands of convoys that arrive on the 29 converging railways on a daily basis carry an average of 180 thousand passengers; the postal service distributes more than 10 thousand letters and newspapers, while in the harbor more than 70 ships come and go daily. The silos, also known as Elevators, play in important role in the cereals trade; I had the opportunity of visiting the Great Elevator, which functions at Chicago River. The Iowa elevator is 43 m high; in 10 hours, with the help of only 16 people, it unloads 150 wagons; each of these wagons contains 252 hl of wheat (36 kilos). It takes only two hours to load a ship with a capacity of 32,400 hl. The engine that brings into operation the silos is a 700 horsepower engine. All the big silo warehouses, called Elevators, offer some important advantages to their users: the ingenious and practical way of loading the ships and unloading the wagons, wheat winnowing, cereals classification according to variety and weight.The silo warehouses from Chicago and from many harbors, as well as those from other agricultural centers, make the cereals trade run much more smoothly, and proved to be very useful to the agriculture of the Unites States, in which extensive crops are predominant. As far as I could notice during my visits to various agricultural centers, the intensive American agriculture is backward, even rudimentary, if compared to that of Central Europe. In spite of this, due to the vastness and fertility of the land, especially of that in the Mississippi basin and on the coast, farmers managed to harvest the astonishing quantity of 60 million t of cereals last year.In spite of the fact that managers of small farming companies complain more about the agricultural crisis than the Romanian ones, the most important contribution to the development of American agriculture is brought by the efficiency of the various means of transportation: they benefit from water transport, on the Great Lakes where harbor dues are very low, or from railway transport which is very convenient as well, because tough competition obliges companies to ask for very low tariffs, as low as ½ cents per kilometric ton. Extraordinary Journeys, CD Press, 2001

by Constantin Chiru