You want your elevator delivery to go like my meeting with Roger Hansen, vice-president of business development for South Dakota Wheat Growers.
Roger Hansen was ready and waiting for me at 7:30 am when I walked into the lobby of the Holiday Inn in Fargo Monday. No waiting around. No wasting time. Meet. Greet. Do business and get back on the road – which is exactly what you probably want from a man who is helping run your grain elevator.
Hansen is vice-president of business development for South Dakota Wheat Growers – a farmer owned cooperative with 25 facilities in a territory that stretches from I-90 in South Dakota to I-94 in North Dakota and from the Minnesota border to the Missouri River. Last fiscal year, it move approximately 150 million bushels of grain, making it the 12th largest grain handler in the country.
Hansen was meeting me to fill me in on the cooperative’s $66 million “Connecting to Tomorrow” project to upgrade its grain receiving, drying, storage and handling system.
By the fall, the cooperative will double its grain drying capacity, increase its grain storage by 21% and boost its receiving capacity 30%. It will build two new shuttle loading facilities at Andover and Roscoe, S.D., and install dryers, erect bins and add dump pits and scales at nine other locations.
In 2011 or 2012 it plans invest around $21 million to build another shuttle loader at Tulare, S.D., and add more storage at other sites.
A steady rise in grain production in much of SDWG’s trade area is driving the upgrade, Hansen says. Corn, soybeans and wheat production increased at a rate of 19 million bushels per year from 2000 to 2008. Higher corn yields, conversion of pasture to cropland and a switch from wheat to corn have all contributed to the increase. An SDWG study indicates that grain production will continue to increase. But growth in on-farm and commercial drying and storage capacity won’t keep pace with the volume. SDWG’s research indicates that storage capacity will lag volume increases by 7 million bushels per year.
SDWG’s project should improve harvest service for many of its members this fall, Hansen says.