TUSCOLA — Cargill's grain elevator in Tuscola is adding a loop railroad track to give it access to the CSX railroad, the company recently announced.
The elevator already has access to the Canadian National and Union Pacific rail lines.
Connecting with the CSX line will give the elevator the ability to ship to markets in the East and Southeast, as well as the Gulf of Mexico.
As a result, local farmers will have additional access to Eastern livestock markets and Cargill soybean processing plants in the Southeast and Gulf export markets, said Doug Childers, farm service group leader for Cargill AgHorizon's central Illinois region.
The $6.4 million project should be done next spring, according to a Cargill release.
The rail loop, which can accommodate 110 grain cars, will be around the perimeter of 200 acres at the Cargill site. If the cars were in a line, they would stretch for more than a mile.
The unit train allows for all cars to be loaded at one place.
"Unit trains are an efficient way to move large volumes of corn and soybeans," said project leader Todd Wiessing. "This helps our competitiveness in bidding local grain, giving us year-round access to the Eastern and Gulf markets."
Cargill has operated the grain business in Tuscola since 1969. Its elevator has a 7.5-million-bushel storage capacity in concrete-and-steel space, plus room for another 4 million bushels in temporary ground piles.
The Tuscola elevator draws from five surrounding counties, which are some of the top producers of corn and soybeans in the nation, Childers said.