WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. (AP) -- Cargill has announced plans for a $45 million grain handling and shipping facility in West Memphis that will handle the increased production of corn and soybeans in the state.
The facility, which will be Cargill's first grain elevator in Arkansas, will employ about 15 people once it's operational in 2016, the company said.
"This business is focused on partnering with our farmer customers — there's a good base in Arkansas — and we're looking forward to working with them to move their product into the global market," Cargill spokesman Mark Klein said. "It's here in part because there's been increased production in Arkansas of corn and soybeans."
Ward Wimbish, West Memphis economic development director, told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (http://bit.ly/1sGYvnx ) that the facility is part of a larger effort to keep Arkansas farmers from having to send their products across the Mississippi River into Memphis, Tennessee.
"This impact extends beyond West Memphis," Wimbish said. "This is for all over eastern Arkansas, which now has an outlet for products without having to leave the state. It saves them truck time, saves them fuel time and reduces congestion on the bridges."
About 70 million bushels of grain are produced and harvested within an hour's drive of West Memphis, Wimbish said.