RUSHFORD — Rushford's downtown landscape has long included grain bins. But the days for the bins are numbered. 

Trent Sprecker, general manager at Farmers Win Cooperative in Rushford, said the grain bins were sold in an online auction on Aug. 6, and the co-op is on its way out of the downtown location. 

Why? Because Farmers Win has more storage capacity at its nearby location and "we just didn't need two locations in the Rushford area," said Sprecker.

The grain held at the downtown site will now be stored at the South Fork facility, which was built in 2012.

The South Fork site, about a half-mile south of Rushford on Minnesota Highway 43, has a 514,000-bushel storage bin along with an 85,000-bushel wet storage bin and 4,700-bushel-per-hour dryer. The weigh scale system there has reduced the drop-off time for a full semi-trailer from about 15 minutes to 3-4 minutes. 

The move will spare farmers a trip into the heart of Rushford to drop off grain, said Sprecker. 

"It's just not ideal to have a grain elevator downtown," he said. 

The two largest bins at the downtown site hold about 100,000 bushels, said Sprecker, and the smallest holds about 20,000 bushels. Farmers who purchased the bins have until the end of the year to pick them up. 

Farmers Win's plan is to remove the bins and some of the equipment, and then tear down the wooden grain elevator. Staff was already working a week after the auction to empty all of the bins.

Equipment like the grain dryer and overhead conveyor will be moved to one another location. Sprecker said he expects all that work to be completed by next summer. 

Sprecker said the decision is not a monetary-based one, and employees at the downtown site will work at the South Fork location. 

Farmers Win Co-op, which is headquartered in Fredericksburg, Iowa, has locations throughout northeast Iowa and southeast Minnesota. Farmers Win merged in March 2018 with Farmers Cooperative Elevator, which started in 1903 under the name Rushford Elevator Co. 

According to its website, Farmers Win now has 17 locations and more than 200 employees. Governed by an 11-person board of directors, the co-op's services include grain, agronomy, feed and energy with annual sales of $190 million.