Expansion includes 'world's largest grain dryer'
KASSON — Greenway Co-Op is launching a massive $5.5 million expansion at its Kasson grain elevator operation.
Co-op leaders and local elected officials will break ground Friday for the project, which includes what Greenway describes as the world’s largest grain dryer to be paired with a new 1.1-million-bushel storage bin.
"For this part of the Corn Belt, this is a huge project," said Tim Clemens, Greenway's general manager.
Clemens says the expansion is needed to keep up with changes in farming. This will give the elevator a storage capacity for 3 million bushels of grain.
With crop yields growing every harvest, the agriculture industry struggles more each year to store and process the truckloads of grain, he says.
"Just 10 or 12 years ago, 150 bushels an acre was excellent. Today we're seeing 200 to 225 per acre," Clemens said. "There is just not enough infrastructure for that grain in the United States to handle that kind of pressure."
Greenway started planning the expansion two years ago.
While Greenway has five grain elevators in the region, Clemens says this facility was chosen for the project because its location in southwest Kasson gives it the best access to utilities, roads and railroad.
That is how Kasson's community development director became involved. Michael Martin says he has been working on the project for six months.
Martin organized a Monday meeting to discuss the construction project with neighbors who live near the elevator.
"Their summer is going to be disrupted. There's a huge construction project right next to them," he says. "We're trying to get as much of their traffic off the streets as possible."
Greenway also will add new equipment to increase dumping capacity from about 10,000 bushels an hour to about 40,000 bushels an hour. It also will boost its drying capacity.
"We are bumping our dumping capacity up four-fold, so we decided we need to also up our drying capacity four-fold," says Clemens.
That is where the world's largest grain dryer comes in. Greenway is bringing in the first of a national grain dryer maker's new top model.
It is designed to dry 12,000 bushels an hour. Up till now, 10,000 bushels an hour was the most possible.