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CHS breaks ground on grain facility

CHS broke ground on a new 1.1 million bushel grain facility at its Worthing location Aug. 24.

After two years of discussing and planning, the CHS Board of Directors approved plans to build a new state-of-the art grain elevator at their January meeting. The new six-pad concrete facility will create an additional 1.1 million bushels of storage space in Worthing, which adds to the current bunker space of 4.2 million-bushel capacity.

“This project aligns with CHS country operations strategy of optimizing the operational footprint and assets while delivering growth for the cooperative,” said Mike Skuodas, CHS senior director of operations/general manager. “Expanding and upgrading this facility is key to the flow of grain from the Upper Midwest to strategic export terminals in the Pacific Northwest, Mexico and the Gulf of Mexico.”

Skuodas said the new facility will complement the current grain and agronomy assets in the area. The addition will increase storage, while adding efficiency in handling corn and soybeans and providing speed and space to area farmers.

The facility will be more efficient than some of their other facilities, reducing the number of people it will take to load rail cars and reducing how long it takes to load those rail cars.

Lennox farmer and CHS board member Jonathan Hagena said the facility will strengthen and benefit local farmers and in turn, will bolster local communities.

“Ag is the sector in which our economy and communities are built. If farmers are financially strong and thriving, so are their communities,” Hagena said.

Investments into grain facilities like this one will strengthen farms for future generations, Hagena said.

Hagena referenced his third grade son, Alex, and his future as the sixth generation on their farm if he chooses to do so.

“The current economic condition of our operation and the decisions we make now directly impact the opportunities he will have to continue the business in the future,” Hagena said. “And because this facility will strengthen our farm today, it will improve his opportunities to farm tomorrow, just like it will for countless operations in our area and generations of farms to come.”

In addition to being a state-of-the art facility, the new project will provide new safety features. Michael Van Otterloo, CHS senior operations manager, noted that safety is one of CHS’s core values.

They will have 600 feet of fall protection so they can cover 10 cars at a time. The facility will also have very little confined spaces.

“A big challenge in a grain facility is confined spaces. The only confined spaces in this facility are going to be the grain silos and we won’t have to enter them due to the fact that they’re going to have canal floors in the bottom,” Van Otterloo said.

These floors will prevent employees from going inside the silos to clean them out. The boom pits will also be big enough and wide enough that there won’t be any confined spaces.

The elevator will be held up by 475 concrete pylons. Each one will be 100 feet deep, filled with 500 yards of concrete. The above ground elevator will use 10,000 yards of concrete and have more than 80 million pounds of rebar in the facility. The contractor estimates it will take 80,000 man hours to build it over the next 12-14 months.

Dirt will begin moving this week. The next few months will all be underground work. Through the winter they plan to pour the pylons. By June, they plan to have the elevators up, which will go up in six days. Then June through September they will install everything else to be ready to open in the fall.


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