Cargill, Inc. of Eddyville, Iowa is a major processor of corn into a wide assortment of products and ships most of its product by railroad via the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railway or the Union Pacific (UP) Railroad. For several years, the railroads would pick up product when Cargill had 20 train cars filled. Cargill production in Eddyville has increased over the years to the extent that it fills almost 20 cars daily. To be more efficient, the railroads wanted to pick up an entire trainload of cars (100 cars) at once. The railroads required Cargill to construct a railroad storage yard for 200 cars, 100 full cars plus the 100 empty cars, which the railroads would deliver as they come to pick up the full cars. This required four miles of storage tracks.
For this project, Cargill purchased approximately 600 acres of land to allow for the railroad yard expansion and habitat protection and improvements. Environmental permits were needed from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for construction of the project. The permitting agencies required 20 acres of wetland mitigation area. In general, Cargill exceeded the requirements of the permitting agencies by constructing 26 acres of wetlands, planting 6 acres of prairie buffer along the banks of Miller Creek (adjacent to the site), planting 12 acres of trees for wildlife habitat, setting aside another 11 acres of existing trees for habitat, removing livestock from 11 acres of timber to maintain the habitat, and constructing nine rock riffles in Miller Creek to provide aquatic habitat.
French-Reneker-Associates provided railroad design, coordinated the environmental review and permitting process, and provided on-site construction review.
Cargill funded most of the $15 million project. However, BNSF Railway and UP Railroad did contribute some money toward the project.