November 2015

Express Grain Terminals

THE PROJECT

In November 2015, AMCREF Community Capital provided $9.2 million of federal NMTC financing and $9.2 million of Mississippi state NMTC financing to Express Grain Terminals, LLC (EGT).  EGT is a privately held, family owned and operated agricultural product processor and storage terminal located in Leflore County in the Mississippi Delta. Leflore is a Persistent Poverty County and has suffered from extreme poverty and high unemployment for generations. Founded in 2007 by local entrepreneurs, EGT has been highly successful, improving the logistics for agricultural grain production in the Mississippi Delta and serving local farmers. EGT’s location provides a more cost effective solution for grain farmers in the area, who previously had to move crops 280 miles by rail and truck for export. With EGT, the products are sold domestically within 100 miles. AMCREF’s investment will help the company improve its existing corn operations, and to expand into soybean processing. EGT also utilized a portion of the NMTC proceeds to purchase a local cottonseed mill and is converting it to process soybeans.  The mill employed 50 people but filed bankruptcy and closed.  EGT rehired these 50 employees, saving valuable jobs in a highly distressed rural community.

COMMUNITY IMPACT

  • Job Creation: 81 direct FTEs, including 20 retained and 61 created, 63% of which are minorities. EGT also created 51 direct construction jobs and 40 new trucking jobs via local farmers. EGT provides full benefits, training and pays average wages well above the local living wage.
  • Environmental Benefits: Mill will supply up to 53M lbs of soybean oil per year to the only biodiesel production facility in MS. This plant is currently sourcing oil from the Midwest versus EGT which is only 55 miles away. EGT will take a commodity that is currently being shipped 280 miles by rail and truck for export and process it locally to be utilized within 100 miles. In addition, EGT intends to establish a market for non-GMO soybeans, with a goal of 50% capacity by year five.
  • Community Impacts: EGT purchased a bankrupt cottonseed mill and rehired the 50 employees that were laid off in June 2015. EGT will help revitalize and bring jobs to a rural community with extremely high unemployment (19.3% and 28.4%) and few jobs beyond low paying agriculture and a declining number of manufacturing positions. 100% of FTEs will be hired from within the local community and 86% of the job positions require only a high school degree. EGT supports local farmers by providing a valuable service locally, reducing operating costs and increasing revenue. EGT estimates a $0.25 increase in price per bushel of soybeans, resulting in a $1M increase in revenue for local farmers.
  • Economic / Catalytic Effects: Strongly supported by regional economic development and community leaders, including receipt of tax abatements. After the expansion, EGT became a relatively large employer in Laflore County and the plant was the only near term manufacturing development planned for the community. The county has faced significant economic adversity recently, in particular due to multiple rounds of layoffs at the Viking range plant, the major employer in the community. The rural county recently laid off 28 school teachers due to a lack of funds.