Bin City opens for business
By CHUCK CLEMENT, Staff Reporter
Harvesters started moving their combines through cornfields at a deliberate pace this week in the Madison area, and fully-loaded trucks arrived Wednesday to unload their cargo at the area's newest grain-drying facility.
Terry Wastweet of American Edge Grain, a Fargo, N.D.-based company, explains how a new Madison grain-drying facility will provide benefits to area farmers during a breakfast held Thursday morning at the operation.
The operators of what they call Madison Bin City on the city's west side cranked up their operations, taking in about 20,000 bushels of newly-combined corn.
Don Jacoby, a partner and board member for American Edge Grain, predicted that farmers would haul in another 40,000 bushels of grain on Thursday (today). The harvest activity coincided with a ribbon-cutting for the grain-drying operation.
Before the ceremony, Jacoby and Terry Wastweet, American Edge Grain owner, spoke to about 30 persons who attended a breakfast at the site and thanked the local residents who assisted with the company's expansion into Madison. AEG serves as the managing company for the operation, and the official ownership company is Madison BinCity LLC.
The facility will use a process called respiration to dry grains such as wheat, corn and soybeans. The respiration process involves using fans to force air through the grain while it is stored in the facility's drying bins.
The respiration process takes a middle road between allowing the corn kernels to dry in the field and using natural gas or propane to dry the grain while it's stored in a typical grain-drying bin. Wastweet described respiration as a more natural process for drying the corn kernels. Respiration tries to avoid the cracking of some corn kernels that can occur using a heat process.
Farmers can also see losses of grain quantity per acre if they leave the corn to dry in the field for an extended time period.
"Anything that you get into a managed situation, the better you are in the long run," Wastweet said.
Since last spring, workers have constructed six drying bins and two storage bins at the Bin City site after demolishing the buildings that were once part of an old poultry and egg production facility.
Madison Mayor Roy Lindsay said that he was gratified to see the property return to providing a home for an operating business in the community.
"It's nice to see that we can move that project out and move this project in," Lindsay said.
Lindsay added that Lake County's farmers would benefit from having another option during harvest in which they could add value to their product and provide the grain that certain customers desire.
At least one semi rolled into Bin City Thursday morning to unload. Steve Armour, the on-site manager of the facility, said about five of the 10 farms that have contracted to use the new grain-drying operation have hauled in truckloads of corn.