Ribbon cutting held for Rochelle Intermodal Transload Center and Regenified Ltd. partnership

Regenified corn is transloaded in Rochelle and bound for California


ROCHELLE — On Monday, a ribbon cutting ceremony was held at the City of Rochelle’s Rochelle Intermodal Transload Center to inaugurate the process of transloading locally-grown regenified corn.

Officials in attendance included representatives from Regenified Ltd., Diestel Ranch of Sonora, California; Thoren Farms of Stockton, Illinois; the Burlington Junction Railway and the city. The event marked the beginning of moving regenified corn from the midwest to the west coast.

“The City of Rochelle is known as the transportation ‘hub’ because we have built the transportation infrastructure to meet the logistical needs of agriculture and industries in our region,” Rochelle Mayor John Bearrows said.

When the Union Pacific Railroad closed its Global III intermodal operations in 2019, the city sprang into action to build the Rochelle Intermodal Transload Center so rail access was readily available, and businesses would not have to incur the expense and lost time of moving freight through Chicago, Bearrows said.

Thoren Farms in Stockton is the first certified regenified farm in Illinois to utilize the RITC. Greg Thoren of Thoren Farms said, “This facility in Rochelle makes it possible for us to feed turkeys in California with our locally grown regenified corn. We are thankful that such a facility as this exists in our backyard.” 

Kevin Mershon, marketing manager for the Burlington Junction Railway, was on hand to oversee the transloading process. Mershon commented during the ceremony, “This facility is designed to move just about anything that needs to move by rail. Being located in the center of the corn and soybean fields here in the midwest, we can move the food supply to feed the world, right from here, in Rochelle.”

The corn will be used to feed over one million turkeys that are shipped across the U.S. Diestel Family Ranch, a fourth-generation turkey ranch, has sourced 740 tons of certified regenified corn for its regenerative, pasture-raised turkey program. By sourcing feed ingredients directly from certified farmers, Diestel is multiplying the impact of its regenerative efforts, creating an entire supply chain committed to common goals and offering consumers regenerative products that support the planet and the future of farming. 

“This is a huge milestone in our industry as we know our future depends on the way we farm,” Jason Diestel, fourth-generation family farmer, said. “We know all too well that everything starts in the soil which is why we are beyond thrilled to be sourcing regeneratively grown corn, leading the way for regenerative agriculture in poultry.” 

On Monday, the first four semi-truck loads of regenified corn arrived at the RITC and transloading began. The RTIC is a transit center built to serve as a vital link for local farmers to export their products globally. It offers direct access to Union Pacific and Burlington Northern Santa Fe railways, and the City of Rochelle Railroad has streamlined the process of moving agricultural products to national and international markets efficiently.