New Canton Rail Terminal Boosts Grower Opportunity

Photo by  Lana Hauschel, Mid-Kansas Cooperative
Photo by Lana Hauschel, Mid Kansas Coop

By: Jesse McCurry, Regional Director

As the marketing arm for the Mid-Kansas Cooperative and other central Kansas elevators, Team Marketing Alliance has proven to be an increasingly important asset for farmers across the region.

TMA, wholly owned by four cooperatives, reflects a business with a strong desire to be a solution provider to the next generation of sorghum farmers. As a result of that desire, the members of TMA built a rail terminal in Canton, Kansas, an asset that was strategically placed in order to provide new opportunity to area farmers.

TMA Grain Marketing Manager Devin Schierling said the Canton Rail Terminal is located in central Kansas between Galva and Canton.

“The train loader was really about being relevant going forward,” Schierling said. “Most of the assets we had before were built in the 50s and 60s, and as we thought about that we said, ‘how is the next generation going to be strong and how will the cooperative remain relevant in a changing marketplace going forward?’”

The current China market has remained strong, and Schierling said TMA recognizes its impact on sales and the enhanced value available for today’s sorghum farmer.

“Producers should look at values today and see that they are historically high,” Schierling said. “Producers need to take advantage of that opportunity.”

The new crop bid for grain sorghum (March 13, 2015, 11:45 a.m.) is $4.21 versus $3.81 for corn, and Larry Dahlsten a sorghum farmer and producer leader from Lindsborg, Kansas, said things are looking up for producers in his area.

“This price is something we’ve never seen before – ever probably,” said Dahlsten. “It’s really unheard of, and people should take advantage of that.”

“This will shift some pretty large dollars for quite a few producers, and I hope producers will realize that we have something here in our coop that most areas and coops don’t have, especially in central Kansas.”

Value-added opportunities are not only available through the new rail terminal. TMA seeks to help growers in additional ways, as well.

“It is extremely important for producers to look at their entire revenue picture on their operation,” Schierling said. “TMA can help customers manage whole farm revenue throughout the year and execute when opportunity arises that meets revenue goals.”

Dahlsten said he is fortunate to live, work and be involved with TMA because the entire coop system is aggressive and forward looking.

“Three words come to mind when I think about TMA,” Dahlsten said, “progressive, aggressive and professional.”

For more information about TMA and the Canton Rail Terminal, please visit

Canton Rail Terminal Facts

  • 120 rail cars can be held on loop track
  • Loads 110-car unit trains in 12 hours or less
  • Used 1.1 million pounds of rebar for slip
  • 2 million bushels of grain storage space
  • 4,600 cubic yards of concrete for slip
  • Estimated to handle 15-25 million bushels of grain annually
  • Can unload three different types of crops simultaneously
  • Time lapse video: