BLENCOE, IA (KTIV) - After the year 2020 has seen, with COVID-19, a drought and the derecho working against farmers, something is finally working in their favor.
The new Port of Blencoe on the Missouri River near Blencoe, Iowa will put more money back into farmer's pockets, by opening up Western Iowa to the rest of the world.
"Today, Iowa farmers need access to every market they possibly can get and this just provides one more of those markets," said Dan Dix, NEW Cooperative, Inc's General Manager.
NEW Cooperative Inc., a farmer-owned cooperative, has been working with the state for nearly two years to get the project going.
The shipping and receiving port will be able to accommodate nine barges, saving farmers transport costs and taking 80,000 semi's off highways each year.
Iowa grain will be shipped out of the port. Fertilizers, aggregates, and other commodities will be shipped in and marketed to wholesale partners and NEW Cooperative's customers.
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds agrees, this is good news for farmers.
"Well this is a tremendous investment not only for our agriculture community but for manufacturing," said Reynolds.
It doesn't look like much right now, but 38 acres near the Missouri River will be the new site for the $11 million port by NEW Cooperative.
The port is expected to be completed by summer 2021.
The land was actually permitted to be a port back in the 1930s, but Dix said the Missouri River wasn't ideal for barge transport until recently due to low water flow.
He says the location was chosen because the Missouri River at Blencoe is one of the closest points the river gets to I-29.
Dix says with the new port traffic, the river will need more upkeep, just like I-29 and that will require help from legislators.
He says the Army Corps of Engineers is in on the project to make sure the river from Blencoe to St. Louis, Missouri is navigable for barges.
It isn't just farmers that will benefit. Dix says the economic growth will extend to the tri-state area and into Monona County by providing jobs.
"To have the ability to move things like cotton seed hulls up to Blencoe Iowa to be then trucked to the dairies of Northwest Iowa or the Dakotas, from an economic benefit it's very very big," said Dix.
Dix says the future for the port is endless, with room for growth and adding other partners onto the site.