Farmward Cooperative opens its new grain receiving facility just in time for harvest
Farmward Cooperative (formerly Harvest Land Cooperative, recently merged with Co-Op County Farmers Elevator of Renville) received the first grain in its new grain storage facility Wednesday, Sept. 27. The new facility is located along U.S. Highway 71 between Redwood Falls and Sanborn by the turnoff to Clements at County Road 16.
It took less than a minute to unload each of the two semi-tractor trailers filled with grain — one with corn and the other with soybeans (last year’s crop, of course). The grain was delivered under the names of Todd Kuehn and his sister, Tonya Coplan, in trucks driven by Stan Kuehn and Todd Kuehn.
Farmward purchased the land on which the facility was built from Todd and Jennifer Kuehn and Joe and Tonya Coplan.
The opening of Farmward Cooperative’s new grain receiving facility opens just in time for harvest.
The facility has two 20,000-bushel-per-hour truck receiving pits, and one 20,000-bushel-per-hour truck receiving pile conveyor that provides a dumping capacity of 60,000 bushels per hour.
The facility also has a corn dryer with capacity of 4,000 bushels per hour; and upright steel storage bins with the capacity for storing 840,000 bushels of grain in three different storage bins. The site provides ground pile storage for 1.5 million bushels of grain; an overhead load-out tank, and complete facility automation and hazard monitoring controls. A remote scale ticket printer is located at the outbound scale.
The new facility speaks to Farmward Cooperative’s commitment to the future of farming in the area, said Dan Christensen, manager of the truck receiving facility.
Groundbreaking for the truck facility was conducted on April 12, 2017. SMA Design & Build of Monticello were the general contractors. Testing of equipment began on September 5, well ahead of the scheduled September 15 completion date.
The entire complex went up relatively quickly and efficiently after a couple of years of logistical planning for the project. “It was about a two-year process from start to end,” said Christensen.
The first site considered, based upon soil engineering reports, wasn’t suitable to build that type of facility. The planners went back to the drawing board. They sampled a handful of other properties, including the existing site inside of Clements. “We didn’t want to abandon our core Clements base,” Christensen said. “We were looking at that to see how maybe we could remodel or restructure it to make it a more modern, efficient facility. In the end, the original Clements site wouldn’t meet the needs. “An expandable, flexible location was needed not only for current use, but looking into the future of the needs for the cooperative and its owner/members,” he said.
“We had to not just take one- to three-year goals into mind, but even think 15 to 20 years out to what the business could be in the future,” Christensen added. “Where we are setting in Clements right now, we are pretty much landlocked. That forced our hand to move outside of the city limits.” No plans have been approved for the use of the current elevator in Clements other than it will be open through harvest this year. “This new facility is completely modern. Speed wise we can dump 60,000 bushels per hour. “It is well laid out and well thought out for a starter elevator with the future in mind to add on as needed.”
“The producers want to get the crop harvested, to the elevator and back out into the fields. If they are waiting in lines, they are going to look elsewhere or take their grain elsewhere, or build on-farm storage,” Christensen added. “That’s not what any cooperative wants. “We want to be there for our owner/members and give them the best service that we can.”