Agriculture is a global market, and providing food for the planet is a worldwide effort. The new dry fertilizer plant will help CPI become a bigger player in the global market. “The purpose of our cooperative is to give our growers access to things they can’t acquire on their own,” said Laremy Seelow, vice president of agronomy at CPI. “The addition of this facility is giving us access to markets we don’t currently have.”
The plant, which has a total capacity of 44,000 tons, will change many operations for CPI. Gone will be the days of old equipment and slow processes. The plant will allow semis to be loaded in minutes and will have access to both BNSF and UP railways, opening up different manufacturing and import points from across the country.
Growers will now have the opportunity to come in and pick up their own fertilizer, so Seelow recommends visiting your salesperson to talk about how growers’ operations might change. For customers, billing will become more timely and accurate, as a billing clerk will be stationed in the new dry plant to help improve communication.
“From a sales side, we have some pretty lofty projections,” said Seelow. “I think they’re achievable projections. There will be a lot of new customers walking through the doors.” Partnerships with other retailers are also in development, and the plant will allow 24/7 unattended wholesale load-out so fertilizer can be sold in the middle of the night without a CPI employee having to be at the facility to load the product.
The facility will be unique for this part of the world. The design includes the first 400-ton capacity tower, different bin configurations, and bulk tanks for the impregnation of fertilizer treatments. “Our facilities needed to catch up. [Farming] is faster-paced than what it used to be,” said Seelow.
The decision to build a new dry fertilizer plant as opposed to investing into the existing dry fertilizer infrastructures came down to efficiency. The old facilities were reaching the end of their useful life, and substantial capital would have had to be invested into the buildings to make them efficient.
Overall, Seelow sees the construction of the plant as improving the CPI Hastings location as a whole, not just fertilizer. The plant will also serve as grain truck overflow to help with the heavy traffic harvest brings in the fall.
An open house for customers and the surrounding community will be planned for a date that is still to be determined.