HOLDREGE, NEB. — Cargill said it will invest about $30 million to increase unloading speeds, storage and shipping capacity, as well as add railroad service at its grain elevator southwest of Holdrege.

“South Central Nebraska is a highly productive area for grains,” said Phil Harders, leader of Cargill AgHorizons U.S.’s Cornhusker Farm Service Group (F.S.G.). “In addition to the local markets we have been serving by truck, the added rail service will expand the markets for farmer customers to the Pacific Northwest and the U.S. Southwest.”

The capital investment project at Holdrege is expected to be completed by the harvest of 2014. To date, Holdrege has shipped grain out by truck. Cargill said the project will add rail service along the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad, which will allow Cargill to load 120-car shuttle trains.

“Unit trains are an efficient way to move large volumes of grain,” said Tim Coppage, merchandising leader for Cornhusker F.S.G. “By giving us access to additional markets like the Pacific Northwest and the U.S. Southwest, we can better meet the demands of our farmer customers for broader markets.”

Cargill said the project will increase storage capacity by 3.5 million bus, which will bring the total to 5 million bus. In addition, Cargill will add three truck receiving pits with a combined 80,000-bu-per-hour truck receiving capacity. The facility also will have 70,000-bu-per-hour rail shipping capacity.

“The high capacity receiving pits and grain legs will provide a better fit to the increased harvest speed of area producers,” said John Barrett, operations leader for Cornhusker F.S.G.

The facility will increase its staff from 7 full-time grain employees to 10 or more over the coming year. Contractors will have approximately 100 employees at the site in different stages of construction.