MFA Incorporated, a grain marketing and farm supply cooperative based in Columbia, Mo., recently announced a joint venture with MFA Oil Company, a farmer-owned energy supply cooperative, to build a shuttle-loader facility on the Union Pacific Railroad approximately 5 miles east of Hamilton, Mo. The grain-handling facility will consist of 2 million bushels of permanent storage and 1.5 million bushels of temporary storage along with a loop rail siding to accommodate a 110-railroad-car “shuttle” unit. Once completed, the structure will allow farmers in north central Missouri and southern Iowa to deliver crops to a modern, high-speed grain facility. Its rail siding capacity will provide new efficiencies to MFA Incorporated’s grain division as well as access to new markets.
“Logistics are a key issue in the grain business,” said MFA Incorporated Director of Grain Operations Mitch Dawson. “For MFA, this is the culmination of a multi-year process during which we evaluated the needs of our grain system. We identified this facility as a strategic improvement that will help us provide needed service to our owners and customers in a large part of our northern trade territory.”
Situated on Highway 36 in Caldwell County, Mo., the shuttle-loader facility will take advantage of an improved four-lane highway, close proximity to north-south traffic on Interstate 35 and direct access to the Union Pacific Railroad.
Adam McIntyre, regional manager for MFA locations in the area, sees the shuttle loader as a year-round asset for producers. “There is a lot of grain produced in north central and northwest Missouri, and harvest is a critical time for farmers. MFA’s investment in the shuttle loader will directly benefit farmers by providing them a place to unload quickly during peak harvest season. It also helps relieve harvest-time pressure on existing MFA grain receiving facilities throughout the region. During the high volume of harvest, we can move grain from smaller elevators to the shuttle loader to keep local storage capacity available. It will also be a great asset in the sense that the shuttle loader adds value to farms throughout the year as an additional marketing option for their grain.”
“Farmers favor facilities like this one because of the efficiency of large-capacity grain pits and high-speed conveyors to move the grain into storage,” said Dawson. “The facility is capable of moving 60,000 bushels per hour as farmers deliver grain. That means farmers will be able to unload as quickly as their trucks allow.”
A 110-car shuttle will hold approximately 420,000 bushels of corn or 380,000 bushels of soybeans. “Much of the grain will be sold to poultry markets in northwest Arkansas, eastern Oklahoma and eastern Texas,” said Dawson. “Some new markets we can reach include terminal markets in Arizona, California and Mexico. The facility will also provide MFA an efficient means to deliver northwest Missouri and southwest Iowa grain to terminal markets in U.S. Gulf region.”
The joint venture between MFA Incorporated and MFA Oil Company brings resources and expertise from both cooperatives and a significant investment in local communities. The facility will be operated by MFA Incorporated and is expected to bring five full-time jobs as well as seasonal part-time jobs to the region.
“This is a unique opportunity to aid local farmers by improving the transportation infrastructure in northwest Missouri,” said Mark Fenner, President and CEO of MFA Oil. “We’re always looking for ways to support our existing customers and attract new ones and this joint venture with MFA Incorporated will help us do both.”
“The shuttle loader helps fulfill our mission,” said Ernie Verslues, President and CEO of MFA Incorporated. “MFA was formed more than 100 years ago to address a lack of buying power and market access for farmers. We still take that mission seriously. This facility fits MFA’s vision to grow in strategic, profitable ways that enhance the economic well-being of our member/owners,” he said.