The great grain robbery was the July 1972 purchase of 10 million tons of United States grain (mainly wheat and corn) by the Soviet Union at subsidized prices, which resulted in higher grain prices in the United States. Grain prices soon reached 125-year highs in Chicago. In a 10-month span, soybeans went from $3.31 to $12.90 a bushel. Food prices around the world rose 50% in 1973. The U.S. government spent $300 million and by unwittingly[according to whom?] subsidizing the Russian purchases, this event helped lead to the U.S. government seeking more information about global agricultural output via infrared satellite intelligence.
This event was referred to in U.S. media of the time as "The Russian Wheat Deal" or "The Soviet Wheat Deal". The term Great Grain Robbery is a pun referring to the "Great Train Robbery". Author Martha Hamilton introduced the term as the title of Chapter VII of her book The Great American Grain Robbery & Other Tales, as part of an allegation that the U.S. government was robbing American taxpayers in order to support grain trading companies. The terms Russian wheat deal and Soviet wheat deal fell into disuse since the sales included corn, barley and oats as well as wheat.
Robbins, William (May 2, 1987). "News Analysis; Soviet Wheat Deal". The New York Times. New York: New York Times. Retrieved July 26, 2011. - 1987 Russian Wheat Deal during the Reagan Administration
"Nation: The Great Wheat Deal". The New York Times. New York: New York Times. Oct 18, 1963. Retrieved July 26, 2011. - Major grain deal during the Kennedy Administration in 1963, for sale of U.S. wheat to Soviet Union, Hungary, Bulgaria and Czechoslovakia