By Matt Reese
Bluegrass Farms of Ohio, Inc. is opening up Ohio agricultural production to a world of opportunity with its Central Ohio Logistics Center in Fayette County. Bluegrass Farms has specialized in the shipping of identity preserved, non-GMO soybeans from its Jeffersonville facility to discerning Asian customers for years. The recent addition of the five miles of railroad and a container loading facility that comprise the Central Ohio Logistics Center have opened up some new and exciting possibilities.
“We need to minimize the amount of truck traffic we use because it is the most expensive and inefficient. The faster we can get our commodities on the rail the better off we are,” said Dave Martin, president of Bluegrass Farms. “We spent the last couple of years constructing this rail facility adjacent to Bluegrass Farms. This allows us to ship heavy-weight containers without hitting the road and ultimately lowering the cost and increasing efficiency to increase the value to the farmers in Ohio that we serve.”
With the new facility, Bluegrass Farms has the capability to process, prepare, containerize and load soybeans directly onto the rail that connects them to the deep water ports in the East and the rest of the world from there.
With the completion of the next phase of the construction project, Bluegrass Farms will be able to load and store 110 train cars to move out simultaneously.
And, with free trade agreement with South Korea that went into effect this morning, Bluegrass Farms is poised for big things.
“We have a contract to provide 20,000 acres of food grade, non-GMO soybeans to South Korea,” Martin said. “Our first choice is to get those beans from as close as we can. It is a growing market and we need more producers who, by growing non-GMOs, can make more money.”
Moving forward, Bluegrass Farms plans to add other crops to their container export offerings.
“Over the next 10 years, one of the largest exports for the U.S. is going to be grain,” said Alan McElwain, Bluegrass Farms logistics coordinator. “As demand warrants, we’re going to start looking at other specialty grains to ship out in the 800-bushel containers.”
The potential benefit could have positive results for all of Ohio agriculture.
“When Ohio agribusinesses are successful, we all benefit,” said David Daniels, director of the Ohio
Department of Agriculture in comments he made on a tour of
the Bluegrass Farms facilities. “It means a better way of life and a more successful future for all of us. Handling the volume of this contract with South Korea will add jobs, and farmers growing the soybeans will be paid a premium. Here we’ve had the opportunity to see that Ohio is a big player internationally.”