Representatives from COFCO and GROWMARK sign the new partnership agreement at GROWMARK’s home office in Bloomington, Illinois, U.S. 
Photos courtesy of GROWMARK,
BEIJING, CHINA — COFCO International Ltd. (CIL) and GROWMARK, Inc. entered into a new grain partnership. The goal of the partnership is to bring together the U.S.-based farmer cooperative network of GROWMARK with the global trading partner CIL to develop an extensive supply chain, directly linking the farmers from food production areas of North America to the global feed and food industry, including its largest demand market, China. 

“The partnership positions the GROWMARK System for expanded access to value-added grain markets,” said Jim Spradlin, chief executive officer (CEO) of GROWMARK. “U.S. agriculture exports to China totaled $21 billion in 2016; it is the world’s largest importer of soybeans, and is consistently ranked as our second largest agricultural export market.”

The partnership includes joint ownership and operation of the barge, truck, and rail terminal at Cahokia, Illinois, U.S., with frontage on the Mississippi River, as well as a grain origination agreement.  GROWMARK will staff a grain merchandiser in CIL's St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., office to originate grain and service patron accounts.

“CIL aims to be recognized as a world-class global agri-business,” said Johnny Chi, CEO of CIL. “A partnership with the second largest agricultural supply and grain cooperative in the United States links COFCO to the growers of the largest grain exporting region in the United States. We strongly believe COFCO, GROWMARK will be a successful win-win venture. CIL's focus on global grain trading and its commitment to the U.S. ag market will provide GROWMARK’s farmers with a sustainable export demand for their production.”
Johnny Chi (left), CEO of COFCO, and Jim Spradlin, CEO, GROWMARK, spoke about the partnership expanding both companies access to grain markets. 

CIL’s Cahokia facility receives grain via rail and truck for transloading to barges destined for export. The facility has six truck receiving lanes, a railroad loop track spanning 34,500 feet with two rail pits, allowing for simultaneous unloading of two shuttle trains of grain and grain products, and two 1,600-tonne-per-hour barge loading belts serving two barge loading docks.  The site is served by the Alton & Southern railroad and is able to receive product from all Class I railroads.

“The partnership provides new markets for our members and farmers and opens strategic partnerships around the world,” said Brent Ericson, GROWMARK senior vice -president, Member Business. “We believe Cahokia will play a key role in originating grain for the international markets driving global demand, and provide a win-win situation for both organizations.”

GROWMARK is an agricultural cooperative with annual sales of $7 billion providing agronomy, energy, facility planning, and logistics products and services, as well as grain marketing and risk management services in more than 40 U.S. states and the Province of Ontario, Canada.  GROWMARK owns the FS trademark, which is used by affiliated member cooperatives.

COFCO International Ltd. is a global agri-business, operating a supply chain spanning across six continents.  It was formed by COFCO’s acquisition and merger of Nidera and COFCO Agri. CIL aims to create a vertically-integrated global agricultural supply chain, which CIL attributes to its position in China and its worldwide origination network, and its logistics and trading capabilities. 

CIL's operations include logistics and processing assets in key global production and consumption regions, with more than 13,000 employees in 35 countries.  COFCO International, together with its parent COFCO Group and its affiliates, delivered more than 100 million tonnes of ag products globally in 2016.