Jay Johnson>LPL Interviews A-M>LPL Interviews A-J, Segment 12


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In the late 1990s they decided to build a 1.7 million bushel flat storage ground pile east of Waverly. Finished it in 2000. In 2003 the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad was looking for corn to be shipped to TX. Jay offered to build a facility on the railroad. The railroad was offering economic incentive money for those who would build facilities. The first one was built in Branson, north of Kankakee. The second in Mendota, third one in Toluca, then the Waverly one, then one in Galva. They had to lay their own tracks, switches, and spur. The first phase of the building was around $8 million. He estimates that now the entire project would cost around $25 million. Still considers his business a small business compared to the likes of Cargill and ADM. The trains have 110 cars, each car holding 4 thousand bushels. 4 to 5 semis fill one car. About 500 semi loads fill one train. They can fill 200 semi loads in a day and fill the rest of it out of their storage. Average of one and a half trains a week. After they leave Waverly, they go to Galesburg, IL. Before they go to TX. This gives the trains a straight shot to TX. They don't stop for any more grain, but occasionally they stop for ethanol plants. They were part of a plan to start an ethanol plant in Waverly, providing corn and land. But the price of corn is so high they can no longer afford to do go through with this. Some investors from Knoxville were going to help them.