Osnabrock Farmers Co-op Elevator expands

For those who drive past Nekoma often, you may have noticed that the skyline there has recently acquired a new addition.


Posted on 6/27/15

By Melissa Anderson

The Osnabrock Farmers Co-op Elevator at the Nekoma location has expanded its capacity this spring with the construction of 10 silos.

The Osnabrock Farmers Co-op Elevator was founded in 1925 and has been providing quality agricultural services to area growers for over 75 years. With locations in Osnabrock which is the main office, the terminal in Nekoma, and a retail facility in Langdon the Osnabrock Farmers Co-op makes it possible to provide their services to growers near these areas.

The terminal facility in Nekoma, which was built in 2003, allows local patrons to efficiently handle and market their grain. In addition to seed, chemical and fertilizer sales,  they also offer many other services including custom application of dry and liquid fertilizer, custom spraying, grain drying, and custom hauling.

The facility in Nekoma underwent an expansion in 2012.
The expansion this year is to compensate for the decrease in transportation that is available and the increase in crop production. The elevator hopes that with more storage available, it will be able to provide its customers with more long term options and delayed pricing.

“Due the fact our producer base is growing constantly, we are buying grain form a wide area and transportation has been inadequate,” Josh Schaefer, the manager of the Osnabrock Farmers Co-op Elevator in Nekoma said.

“We feel this way we will be better able to serve our patrons,” Schaefer continued .

The elevator handles a diverse assortment of commodities that are grown in the area. The most common commodity the elevator handles is spring wheat, but the elevator also takes in barley, canola, soybeans, and many different types of grain.

Capacity of the 10 new silos is 600,000 bushels. With the expansion, the elevator located in Nekoma can hold up to 1.5 million bushels of commodity. The new silos will also offer more bin separation for all the different commodities as well as some more storage to help offset the expanding business of the elevator.

“Right now, we have enough room for 500 car trains,” Schaefer said.

The Osnabrock Farmers Co-op Elevator in Nekoma handles mostly spring wheat which is hauled out in 100 car trains, and is then separated out into four different mills located in Chicago.

“They really like the Northeast ND wheat that the farmers grow around here,” Schaefer stated.

The commodity is shipped to domestic mills located in the Chicago area, and some of the mills are well known including General Mills, Ardent Mills, Miller Milling, and ADM Milling.

The elevator is hoping that the new storage silos will be operational by the middle of September, just in time for the harvest of spring wheat. The ground work on the silos was completed in the fall of 2014 and the construction of the silos themselves began in February of this year.

“We think that this new expansion will give our grower members more flexibility in marketing their grain. We will have more space to better serve our customers,” Schaefer said.

When the Osnabrock Farmers Co-op Elevator in Nekoma decided to undergo this expansion,  the railroad was very far behind supplying the necessary grain cars to transport the commodities stored in the elevators silos. The main reason the shortage occurred was a result of the grain industry competing with the crude oil for transportation out of the state of ND.

“We are served by a shortline called the Northern Plains Railroad which receives cars from Canadian Pacific Railroad,” Schaefer said.

Schaefer did note that the rail system seems to be getting the kinks worked out of their system and will be able to provide the necessary grain cars and the engines to pull them in a more timely manner than in years past.

Even with this turn around in rail service, the expansion of the Osnabrock Farmers Co-op Elevator in Nekoma will dramatically affect the logistics of how the elevator operates their business.

“Instead of having to ship our grain to markets where the railroad would get the quickest turn on their cars, we are seeing a more consistent placement of equipment which allows us to ship grain where the market is “telling” the grain to ship,” Schaefer said.

The hope of the elevator is to better serve their customers  by increasing the handling capabilities as a result of the expansion. Osnabrock Farmers Co-op has a total of 532 common shareholder members across Cavalier, Pembina, Ramsey, Walsh, Towner, and Benson counties.

Osnabrock Farmers Co-op  wants to thank its patrons for their continued business and looks forward to serving patrons into the future.