WEST MEMPHIS, ARK. — Cargill said it will invest $45 million to build a grain handling and shipping facility in West Memphis. The plant is expected to become a key origination point in the south for soybeans, corn, milo and wheat, Cargill said.

The necessary permits have been received, and Cargill said it is working on the timeline for the start of construction and completion of the project.

“Our farmer-customer base on the southern river system is strategic to Cargill’s global supply chain, and the West Memphis facility will be a very competitive market for deliveries,” said Fred Oelschlaeger, regional manager for Cargill’s Southern River Region of grain elevators and farm service centers. “The West Memphis location will be easy to reach with large semi-loads of grain and will have excellent access for loading barges, during both high and low river levels.”

Cargill said the West Memphis plant will have three truck-receiving areas that will allow farmers to unload grain quickly. On the shipping end, the facility will be capable of holding up to five barges, loading as many as eight barges in a full day (50,000 bus per hour).

The facility will complement Cargill’s grain storage assets on the Mississippi river and export facilities in the Gulf.   In 2012, Cargill completed a $25 million modernization project at Hales Point, Tenn., which added capacity and quickened unloading times for farmer customers.

Senator Keith Ingram of Arkansas said the new facility will be good for Arkansas agriculture.

“Over the years, corn and soybean production have increased in Arkansas, and the West Memphis elevator will provide an additional market,” he said. “The facility will further link Arkansas to the global marketplace.”

Cargill operates a total of 201 grain storage facilities in the United States with total storage capacity of more than 348 million bus, according to theGrain & Milling Annual 2013published by Sosland Publishing Co.