Growmark Enters Joint Grain Marketing Venture with Chinese Company

The nation’s second largest farmer cooperative, Growmark, has entered into a joint grain marketing venture with China’s COFCO International Limited (CIL).

The partnership includes joint ownership and operation of the barge, truck and rail terminal at Cahokia, Ill., with frontage on the Mississippi River, as well as a grain origination agreement. Growmark will staff a grain merchandiser in CIL’s St. Louis office to originate grain and service patron accounts.

“The partnership positions the Growmark System for expanded access to value-added grain markets,” said Jim Spradlin, Growmark CEO. “U.S. agriculture exports to China totaled $21 billion in 2016. It is the world’s largest importer of soybeans, and is consistently ranked as our second largest agricultural export market.”

Brent Ericson, Growmark Senior Vice President, Member Business, said that the partnership “opens strategic partnerships around the world.”

From COFCO’s perspective, the agreement links the company to “the largest grain exporting region in the United States,” said Johnny Chi, CEO of COFCO International.

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“CIL’s focus on global grain trading and its commitment to the US ag market will provide Growmark’s farmers with a sustainable export demand for their production,” Chi added.

CIL’s Cahokia facility receives grain via rail and truck for transloading to barges destined for export. The facility has 6 truck receiving lanes, a railroad loop track spanning 34,500 feet with two rail pits, allowing simultaneous unloading of two shuttle trains of grain and grain products. The facility also operates two 1,600-ton-per hour barge loading belts.

CIL’s operations include logistics and processing assets in key global production and consumption regions, with more than 13,000 employees in 35 countries.  COFCO International, together with its parent COFCO Group and its affiliates, delivered more than 100 million tons of ag products globally in 2016.

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