LACASSINE, La. (AP) — A $4 million high-speed rail loading facility being built in rural Jefferson Davis Parish is expected to be able to move 25,000 bushels of grain per hour when it opens this summer.

Police Juror and rice farmer Mark Pousson told rice farmers this past week that construction of the facility is expected to be completed by July 15. That would be in time for the start of the rice harvest in southwest Louisiana.

The American Press ( reports the facility will give farmers the ability to export nearly 800 metric tons of rice, corn, soybeans, wheat and other grains a year to global markets.

"This means another way of getting grain that our farmers harvest on the market quicker to get better prices," said South Louisiana Rail Facility manager Chuck Ardoin.

The facility will operate year-round, he said. "Everybody thinks rice is seasonal, but rice mills are milling year-round," Ardoin said.

Storage tanks can hold 40,000 bushels of grain.

Everything in the facility is being built for fast and efficient grain transfer, Pousson said. Conveyors will carry 25,000 bushels of grain per hour to rail cars for shipment, he said.

Chris Krielow, president of the South Louisiana Rail Facility, said several exporters and millers have toured the facility and others are scheduled.

"So far they have seemed really impressed," Krielow said. "There is nothing in the South that is able to do anything close to this."

Construction on the facility began earlier this year on a 2.4-acre site just north of an existing railroad line at the Agri-Industrial Park off Louisiana Highway 101.

Work will begin soon on a grading facility, which will help determine the quality of grain before it's shipped.


Information from: American Press,