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Crystal Valley Co-op breaks ground for shuttle terminal

By Janet Kubat Willette

Date Modified: 05/13/2013 2:36 PM

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SOMERSET TOWNSHIP, Minn. – Crystal Valley board members, Somerset Township officers and Crystal Valley employees gathered in a field April 24 to ceremonially break ground for a new grain shuttle terminal.

The $30 million project will transform 38 acres of farmland into the Greenfield Grain Shuttle Terminal. The site will include an 8,100 foot loop railroad track, upright storage of 3.8 million bushels, temporary storage of 2.8 million bushels, three 20,000 bushels per hour receiving pits and a 10,000 bushel per hour grain dryer.

The site in Steele County's Somerset Township near the town of Hope is along the Union Pacific rail line. It is also just miles from Interstate 35.

Jeff Spence, Crystal Valley Cooperative grain division manager, said the site was selected both because of rail and road access. It is located 65 miles from the company's other rail loading facility in Madelia and about 100 miles from the Mississippi River in Winona. Other river terminals are in Red Wing and Savage.

It's about 50 miles north of a shuttle loading facility in Joice, Iowa, and about 50 miles south of a shuttle facility under construction near Randolph.

Greenfield Grain Shuttle Terminal will be able to receive 60,000 bushels of grain per hour and will have rail load-out capacity of 80,000 bushels per hour. That means it will take just seven and a half to eight hours to load a 110-car train.

Dirt work is expected to begin at the site next week, weather permitting, Spence said. The goal is to open the facility in August 2014.

The office should be completed by July of this year, with most of the rail laid in the winter of 2013-14.

Six full-time people will work at the shuttle terminal.

The Greenfield Grain Shuttle Terminal will have Crystal Valley's first loop track, Spence said. The track in Madelia is what's called a ladder track.

The farmland inside the loop will be planted to corn and soybeans, Spence said.

Crystal Valley Cooperative is a farmer-owned cooperative with 145 full-time employees and eight locations serving Blue Earth, Brown, Le Sueur, Nicollet, Waseca and Watonwan counties. It provides agronomy, feed, grain, petroleum and propane products and services.