Celebrating Co-op Month: Facilities

As we celebrate cooperative month, we've discovered that co-ops work hard to maintain good facilities for farmers.

In a recent trip south of Syracuse, we learned about a new train loading facility built about a year ago for the Midwest Farmers Cooperative. "We are storing about 3 million bushels of corn here annually, and it's a rail facility, and so we can bring in farmer corn by truck, and then ship it out on the rail to other domestic or international markets," Midwest Farmers Cooperative CEO Jeremy Wilhelm said. "This has state-of-the-art automation in it, so that we can load a 400,000 bushel train in under 8 hours at a time." According to Wilhelm, throughout the next year, about 20 million bushels of grain will be shipped through the new facility.

"Being a farmer-owned cooperative, we are governed by a board of directors, who are also farmers," Wilhelm said. "Each year we sit down and talk about the needs in our company, and how to best serve the farmers today." The facility south of Syracuse was built in response to the fact that farmers are harvesting grain faster than ever, and there is more of it than ever. The new train loading facility enhances efficiency for the farmer. "We've had to continually invest in new facilities like this, to keep up with the pace of harvest and the yields growing as they have," Wilhelm said.

Wilhelm says the train loading facility was built through farmer equity in the co-op. "What we do is we are able to leverage farmer equity into building a facility like this, and to me that is the power of the farmer-owned cooperative system in the state of Nebraska," Wilhelm said.