Cargill Inc. says it canceled a plan to import nearly 1 million bushels of wheat from Argentina after the proposal was sharply criticized by U.S. grain organizations.
However, Cargill Chairman Whitney MacMillan on Tuesday defended the original proposal, citing the company's need to curb the adverse effects on U.S. imports caused by worldwide competition and the strong dollar.
Cargill withdrew the vessel scheduled to load 25,000 metric tons of Argentine wheat this week for shipment to the United States, MacMillan said. A metric ton equals about 2,205 pounds.
The privately held company, a leading shipper of commodities based in Minnetonka, a suburb of Minneapolis, said last Friday that it planned to import the Argentine wheat. The plan was immediately criticized.
Carl Schwensen, executive vice president of the National Assn. of Wheat Growers, said the decision was "deeply distressing to U.S. wheat growers."
"Politically, it's not a very sound move," said Merle Hedland, executive director of the Minnesota Wheat Growers Assn. in Red Lake Falls. "This is the first example of Latin American grain coming up for many, many years."