New facilities mean competition for grainKIMBALL — With two new towering grain silos casting long shadows on the plains between Kimball and White Lake, area grain loaders predict competition will increase.
By: Chris Mueller, The Daily Republic
KIMBALL — With two new towering grain silos casting long shadows on the plains between Kimball and White Lake, area grain loaders predict competition will increase.
Concrete began pouring at the Liberty Grain shuttle-loading facility in December. Chuck Jepson, of Liberty Grain LLC, said recently that all of the site’s upright storage bins are completely poured.
The facility has two 150-foot silos that hold 472,000 bushels of grain each, plus eight smaller 108,000-bushel bins.
Combined with additional bunker storage in the works, the facility will have approximately 3.2 million bushels of storage capacity.
Jepson said the facility will be open for business in September.
Once operational, the Liberty Grain facility will be capable of loading 110-car shuttle trains full of grain. The trains will transport cargo primarily to the West Coast for export to markets in Asia.
At least two facilities similar to Liberty Grain are in being planned in the area —one proposed by Rapid City-based Dakota Mill and Grain near Kimball and another proposed by Tripp-based Dakota Plains Ag Center near Napa Junction northwest of Yankton.
Competition for grain will increase as more facilities move in to the area, said Farmers Alliance General Manager Jim Morken.
Farmers Alliance operates grain facilities in Mitchell, Alexandria, Bridgewater, Chamberlain, Corsica, Ethan, Parkston, Storla and White Lake.
“I think competitively we will still be in a good position,” Morken said. “We’re going to continue to take care of customers the way we have in the past.”
The Farmers Alliance facility in Mitchell has nearly 3 million bushels of storage capacity and is capable of loading the same 110-car shuttle trains as Liberty Grain.
A project that will add 700,000 bushels of storage space to the Farmers Alliance facility in Corsica is nearing completion, Morken said.
According to Morken, if crop yields stay high, there should be more than enough business for grain loading sites across South Dakota.
“Everybody wins if you have big crops,” Morken said. “If we get into a drought situation with fewer crops, then it’s a different animal.”
Crop producers in the area should also benefit from reduced transportation costs due to the development of new grain loading facilities, said Matthew Diersen, of South Dakota State University Extension.
“Because farmers won’t have to pay as much to ship the grain out, the final price will be better,” Diersen said.
Jepson said meetings between Liberty Grain and many of the surrounding facilities have already taken place, with the goal of working together to expand opportunities in the marketplace.
“We see ourselves as just another outlet for grain marketing,” Jepson said.