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Interstate Mills launches construction of new location

By Janet Kubat Willette

Date Modified: 03/20/2013 9:07 AM

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RANDOLPH, Minn. — Construction began Feb. 20 on a 5 million-bushel grain storage and unit train-loading facility in Randolph.

A groundbreaking was held the same day for the new Interstate Mills location. Interstate Mills is a 100 percent wholly owned subsidiary of Central Valley Cooperative. Locations are in Northfield, Dennison, Kenyon, Owatonna and Hayfield, said Jim Dell, vice president and general manager of Interstate Mills.

Interstate Mills deals in feed and grain. Central Valley provides energy and agronomy products and services.

Interstate Mills decided to locate in the Great Western Industrial Park in Randolph because the short-line rail operator was willing to upgrade and because of the area's road system, Dell said. Randolph is located along Highway 56 with Dakota County Road 86 coming in from the west. Highway 19 comes across from Northfield and Highway 50 to the north. Highway 52 is just to the east.

The short-line operator is Progressive Rail, which is owned by Dave Fellon. Progressive Rail leases the line from the Union Pacific Railroad, Dell said.

He said the area has been primarily dependent upon river traffic for grain transportation, and that has been inconsistent over the last several years. The new facility will provide a consistent means of grain transportation for their patrons and bring new market share to Interstate Mills.

The shuttle loading facility will load 110-car unit trains, with the capability to expand to 120 to 130 cars, if need be, Dell said. They are working within 78 acres.

The hope is to have construction completed by harvest. When completed, they plan to handle 25 million bushels of grain at the site, Dell said. Farmers will be able to empty a semi-trailer in three to three-and-a-half minutes at the new facility. They will be able to dump 60,000 bushels per hour and dry 10,000 bushels per hour. The facility will be automated with card readers, Dell said. Truck drivers will need only get out to open and close their truck hoppers.

Interstate Mills will employ four to eight people at its Randolph location.

The company has made several investments over the past several years. Once the Randolph storage facilities are built, Interstate Mills will have tripled their grain storage capacity from five million bushels to 15 million bushels over the past six years.

They most recently completed a project in Hayfield, going from 20,000 to 40,000 bushels of grain per hour dumping capacity and increasing storage by two million bushels.