Laurel, Neb., welcomes $20 million ag project

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Posted: Tuesday, June 18, 2013 12:00 am

Agrex Inc., an agricultural trading company based in Overland Park, Kan., will break ground today on a 2.6 million-bushel BNSF Railway shuttle loading facility in Laurel, Neb.

The estimated $20 million investment will add up to eight full-time jobs to the town of about 950 surrounded by agriculture, said economic development coordinator Luke Virgil.

Virgil said Agrex will provide another opportunity for farmers to sell their grain and could make prices more competitive in the area.

“There’s a lot of unforeseen (effects,)” he said. “It’s going to be a very positive thing for the city.”

Gov. Dave Heineman and local dignitaries are among those invited to Agrex’s groundbreaking, planned on about 28 acres of land in Laurel’s 45-acre industrial park, where startup company Laurel BioComposite and seed dealer Taylor Seeds also are located.

Virgil said that what paved the way for Agrex to commit to Laurel was a decision last year by BNSF to buy a short line that runs through the town.

The facility is expected to be completed in August 2014 so it can take grain in the fall. It will be Agrex’s third shuttle loading facility in Nebraska. The others are in Superior and Enola.

Agrex CEO and president Shu Kobayashi said in a statement that the company, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Mitsubishi Corp., hopes to bring additional value to the producer’s grain tributary. As a major exporter of U.S. feed grains, about 80 percent of Agrex’s sales are to international markets like Japan, China and Korea.

The Laurel facility will be capable of loading 80,000 bushels of corn and soybeans per hour. It will provide producers additional market access to export markets in the Pacific Northwest, Mexico and the Gulf, as well as to BNSF-served domestic feed markets in Texas and the southwest U.S.

The facility will have two primary truck unload pits with a third pit that will be used during peak harvest times. It will have 1.6 million bushels of upright bin space and a 1 million bushel bunker. The construction company is Todd and Sargent of Ames, Iowa. The facility also will include a loop track for rail loading.

“Agrex coming to the city of Laurel is right in our wheelhouse,” Virgil said.

Contact the writer:

402-444-1192, emily.nohr@owh.com

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