North Missouri Congressman Sam Graves, R-Tarkio, standing at the far right, meets with MFA and Caldwell County officials Tuesday morning at the MFA Rail Facility just east of Hamilton, Missouri.

NETTLETON, Missouri — North Missouri Congressman Sam Graves was given a close-up look Tuesday at one of the region’s newest and most impressive agricultural facilities.

Graves spent part of the morning on a tour of the MFA Rail Facility in Caldwell County, located 5 miles east of Hamilton, Missouri. The congressman had been aware of the grain-handling facility, but it marked the first time he has been able to step on the grounds since the business opened in the spring of 2017.

“Fantastic facility,” Graves said on his impressions of the tour. “In fact, I wanted to come see it ever since they started construction. ... Beautiful.”

The economic relevance of the facility wasn’t lost on the congressman, who recognizes the site as a hub to farmers all across the region. Officials with MFA told him the construction was a blend of contributions by private concerns, as well as local and state government.

“It’s good for the entire area,” Graves said. “They draw grain from a lot of counties. This is a great opportunity.”

Despite the weather, a train was due in on today and is scheduled to take a load of grain from the harvest to Mexico. Soybeans are being shipped to St. Louis for an eventual destination of the Gulf of Mexico. The largest percentage of grain is bought by customers in Arizona.

More trucks and trains are anticipated to arrive as the season continues this month and on into November. All activities are going well, said manager David Jones.

“Beans have yet to get going,” he said.

Graves also observed how employees grade the grain that enters the facility and learned about its storage capacity. Officials told him that 1.3 million bushels of corn were being kept under a tarp due to the rainfall.

Customers are reporting corn yields in a range of 30 to 70 bushels per acre, with the rains arriving too late to make a difference in this year’s crop. The toxic aflatoxin, produced by fungi, was a major problem for corn. Caldwell County Presiding Commissioner Bud Motsinger, who accompanied Graves on the tour, said large amounts of this year’s corn had to be cut for silage due to drought-induced damage.

Ray Scherer can be reached at ray.scherer@newspressnow.com. Follow him on Twitter: @SJNPScherer.

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