In spite of low grain prices, Agri Trails Coop is expanding its grain handling facilities at its Tampa location.
General manager Darel Anderson explained the reason for it, noting that many of the Agri Trails facilities were built in the 1950 and 1960s.
“If we don’t move forward and improve them, our coop won’t last long,” he said. “Get on board, or don’t be in business.
“Even though grain prices have gone down in recent years, grain production has gone up. I guess the reason prices have gone down is because farmers have been doing such a darn good job.”
He noted that good weather for several years also has helped.
Anderson said there are fewer producers but they are farming more land and, for them, speed is a priority.
“They have bigger combines and bigger trucks, and they don’t want to wait in line,” he said. “We need to earn their business, and part of that is improving facilities.”
Tampa manager Roger Will said the improvement project at Tampa is still a work in progress. He did not know if it would be finished in time for wheat harvest.
“When the work is completed, the coop location in Tampa will have a new system that will dramatically speed things up during harvest,” he said.
A new 348,000-bushel bin has been constructed. Will said it is one of the largest single grain storage structures in Marion County.
A new dump pit will handle a full semi-load in one spot without having to move the trailer, and a new 17,000 bushel-per-hour leg can elevate a semi load in minutes.
The incoming road has been widened, allowing trucks to enter and exit through one route rather than exiting onto Tampa’s streets.
A new scale has been installed on the north side of the office. Incoming trucks will weigh there, unload at the new pit, and weigh out on the south side of the building.
“We think farmers will find it to be a great improvement,” Will said.
Anderson said local contractors were hired to do the work.
“They know the importance of this to the area, and I’m confident it will be done in time for harvest,” he said.
Improvements were made at Lincolnville the past two years and will be made at other locations as the budget allows.
Along with its Tampa location, Agri Trails has elevators in Carlton, Chapman, Dillon, Durham, Gypsum, Herington, Lincolnville, Navarre, Pearl, and Woodbine, with headquarters in Hope.