In November 2015, HRV invested $6 million of its New Markets Tax Credit allocation in Express Grain Terminals, LLC. The transaction financed the acquisition of a recently closed mill in Greenwood, Mississippi, and equipped it to process locally-grown soybeans. In addition, this investment financed improvements to an existing Express Grains facility in Sidon, Mississippi. Both Greenwood, Miss., and Sidon, Miss., are located in the Mississippi Delta, a region historically associated with poverty and racial inequality.
This severely distressed census tract has been described as “the most impoverished corner of the most impoverished state in the nation,” and has a poverty rate of 42.2% and an unemployment rate of 19.3%. In addition to hiring previously laid-off employees, EGT is bringing high-quality jobs to a rural low-income community, making it one of the largest employers in the area. EGT hires from the local community and will “also improve agricultural supply chain efficiency, which will reduce fuel consumption and air emissions by sourcing soybeans locally,” said Douglas Fields, a 2016 Community Development QLICIs of the Year Awards judge.
The mills support environmentally sustainable practices, including production of soybean oil for use as biodiesel fuel, recycling initiatives and reduction of the area’s carbon footprint by sourcing locally and eliminating long-distance transport of raw materials.