14th March: GREENWALD, Minn. - Greenwald Elevator manager Chris Ellering is excited about his new old building.
Ellering has spearheaded the purchase and move of a 20-year-old feed mill in Sunburg to the Greenwald Elevator site. The feed mill will replace a 98-year-old mill.
The processing and sale of livestock feed comprises 97 percent of the elevator's business, Ellering said. The new mill has 25 bins that will accommodate the elevator's need to separate processed feed for dairy, beef, poultry and hogs.
Moving the structure took 11 days to complete over a 41 mile distance between the two towns. The moving company, on long straight stretches, traveled at 7 miles per hour. That was speeding compared to the slow pace around curves, Ellering said.
It was less expensive to purchase an existing building and move it than to build new, he said.
Ellering made periodic repairs to the 98-year-old grain house that's part of the elevator's feed mill operation but, due to the building's age, Ellering thought a newer building was needed to avoid eventual high-cost repairs.
Ellering knew Sunburg had an elevator that was standing empty. Several farmers purchased the building but they had no immediate plans for it, he said. He contacted the farmers and bought it. It fit perfectly into Ellering's five-year plan for the Greenwald Elevator.
The building was prepared for the move in January. Thein Movers of Clara City moved the 65-foot high, 45-foot long and 24-foot wide feed mill starting Feb. 14.
"Usually it would be a 32- to 43 mile trip from Sunburg to Greenwald but this move was about 41 miles," Ellering said. "We had to zig-zag around roads to avoid some electrical lines."
The first day the elevator was moved over four hours, he said. Overhead electric lines were cut in a few places as they moved the structure. The move was idled one day when, due to a cold snap, more electricity was being used. It took 15 hours to move the structure.
Ellering praised the movers and the company that prepared the elevator for the trek.
The structure will be placed where the former office now stands. Once the weather warms, liquid tanks in the old office will be moved and the structure torn down.
A basement will be dug and the new feed mill put in place, Ellering said. The gravel will be removed and the basement will be used in the feed mill's operation.
Greenwald Elevator receives oats, corn and soybeans from area farmers and uses the oats and corn for its feed business, Ellering said. Grain not used for feed is shipped via semitrailer since rail service to the elevator ended 20 years ago.
Papps Feed and Dairyland feeds are part of its product line for area livestock producers. It can custom process feeds depending on producers' needs including organic feeds. Greenwald Elevator offers the feed in bag and bulk. The elevator employs three nutritionists and works with independent nutritionists to provide ration mixes for producers.
Greenwald Elevator has about 200 customers within an 80-mile radius of the small central Minnesota community. It produces about 125 tons of feed per day, Ellering said.
The family-owned elevator's building plan and its feed offerings are part of its commitment to continued customer service, Ellering said.
"There are some companies that are profit-driven and some that are customer-driven," he said. "We are customer-driven. I feel you have to do what's right for the customer."