The purpose of this project is to construct a grain elevator that will serve as a high-speed throughput load-out facility for barges on the Mississippi River. Its objective is to be able to fill a barge within three hours of dockage. Two high-speed, 20,000 bushel per hour dumps, legs and conveyors will be installed. Much of the time, farmers will be dumping dry grain directly onto barges at the time of harvest. However, the facility will also possess at least three 140K bushel storage bins, a 58K bushel wet bin, a dryer, grain sweeps and related equipment with which to be able to retain several barges’ worth of grain. The project requires the installation of a “river cell” and barge load-out system with a major 40K bushel per hour conveyor that would extend out over the barge port area. The project also encompasses retaining wall construction, a small office and scales. This is not a conventional inland grain storage elevator. Its purpose is to serve as a throughput barge house, consistent with many high speed facilities that are typically used at river ports. However, another objective is to add additional storage capability at the site in future phases.
Management reports that there are currently 1,079 UFC farmer customers that live in Missouri out of a total of over 3,000 farmer members. UFC currently originates 2.5MM bushels of corn (12% of the corn production base) and around one million bushels of soybeans (also about 12% of the share) from its Missouri members. Today, UFC is one of the only farmer-owned cooperatives in the region with access to the river markets.
The cooperative projects the new Canton facility will retain all of the grain that previously flowed from Missouri to its Illinois location. In addition, the new facility is projected to help the cooperative originate as much as an additional 1.3MM to 1.5MM bushels of grain from farmers who would like to market through a cooperative.
There are also numerous less obvious supply chain economic benefits for the membership. Higher-speed facilities and elimination of the ferry waiting process will reduce waiting times at harvest and result in higher productivity for producers. The presence of a new facility on the Missouri side will help improve the basis for producers in that region. Trucking costs will go down materially for each Missouri member.