ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA, U.S. — CHS Inc. and Northern Partners Cooperative, Mendota, Illinois, U.S., announced on Jan. 21 that the companies will form a joint venture to build and operate a grain barge loading facility that will handle corn, soybeans and wheat for export through the CHS terminal at Myrtle Grove, Louisiana, U.S. 

In addition, CHS will build a 47,000-ton capacity fertilizer warehouse with product blending capabilities that will be operated by Northern Partners Cooperative. Construction will begin early in 2015 and is expected to be completed in the spring of 2016.  When the plant is operational, approximately eight new employees will be hired.

"CHS is always looking for strategic investments and partnerships that create additional growth opportunities for its farmer-owners and this agreement with Northern Partners Cooperative does just that," said Rick Dusek, CHS vice-president, Ag Business. "It allows CHS to expand its grain origination with direct Illinois River access and it enables further growth of our fertilizer business by adding infrastructure that is critical to timely and reliable fertilizer supply and delivery." 
Northern Partners Cooperative will use the terminals at Peru, Illinois, U.S., to facilitate grain handling and serve farmer-owners of its retail business with nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium fertilizers. CHS will serve its nearby cooperative wholesale fertilizer and grain customers from these facilities.  
"These new assets will give our member-owners direct access and ownership in the supply and distribution chain, bringing them a step closer to world markets," said Eric Anderson, general manager, Northern Partners Cooperative. "These new state-of-the-art facilities will help provide a more stable, dependable source of crop nutrients, as well as a cooperative presence in the grain export market which will add value to our member-owners' farming operations."
"We are pleased to partner with CHS, the nation's leading cooperative in this venture. While we are very different in size, our core values are very similar. Both companies work to provide relevant, valuable products and services to member-owners," Anderson said.
Anderson also expressed gratitude to local government officials for their support and expertise.
"We look forward to working with Mayor Scott Harl and the City of Peru to bring jobs and economic development to benefit the Illinois Valley, and we appreciate their many efforts to help us establish this new venture," Anderson said.