December 16, 2010

Elevator expansion to add speed, efficiency

Elevator expansion to add speed, efficiency
New fertilizer plant in mid-construction

It’s all about speed and efficiency. And for many farmers, speed and efficiency equals valuable time and welcome money.
That’s why Garrison Farmers Union Elevator/CHS regional terminal is in the middle of a major construction project. The undertaking will enhance the size of the current dry fertilizer plant’s capacity by 600 percent.
The new facility, located behind the office complex of the elevator (former Schwarz Implement lot) will be a state-of-the-art 3,200-ton dry fertilizer plant. The present facility, located near the elevator’s anhydrous plant in west Garrison, has a capacity of only 500 ton.
The new facility will boast a load-out tower that, when in operation, will hold 130 ton of product. Putting things in perspective, elevator Manager Chris Gratton said where it would take from 30-45 minutes to load a semi at the current plant, the new facility will do the same process in about 10 minutes.
“It should improve the efficiency of our plant for the customer,” he said. “It will also give us the ability to have more product on hand, and not have to rely on delivery. This will also give us better buying power, which will give us the ability to pass savings on to our customers.”
Access will also be a strong-point of the new plant. Whereas truckers had to weave their way down a gravel road behind the JM Grain bean and pea plant, they will now be able to come in off the paved County 15 road.
Plans are to have the roof on the structure before Christmas, Gratton said.
The goal is to have the facility up and running by spring.
Construction foreman Mike Ginder with Stueve Construction, Algona, Iowa, agrees, saying his crew of 12 will work through the winter.
“Our goal is to get the roof on and finish in the spring,” he said.
Gratton said that the fertilizer plant expansion has been in the elevator’s strategic plan for the past three years.
“It is customer driven,” Gratton explained. “Better quality of product and (it) is growth driven.”
Gratton said the need is there, adding that the elevator is doing four times the agronomy business that it did 10 years ago.
Gratton said he thinks customers will like the new facility.
“The big thing is speed, access and efficiency,” he said.

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