Facility Feature
Pro Ag Farmer's Cooperative Adds Capacity to Handle Larger Volume Following Merger

Pro Ag Farmers Cooperative’s expanded rail terminal southeast of Hoffman, MN will be able to handle up to 147 railcars on the Canadian Pacific Railway (CP Rail).

Improved rail loading for Minnesota cooperative, track upgrade for Canadian Pacific Railway work together

Hoffman, MN — When Pro Ag Farmers Cooperative merged with Hoffman Farmers Cooperative in Hoffman, MN (320-986-2007), at the beginning of 2018, it was looking for more than just another grain elevator. Hoffman had something that Pro Ag didn’t – rail loading.

In 2013-14, Hoffman built a rail terminal on the CP Rail about a mile southeast of its in-town main elevator. It consisted of a single 135-foot diameter, 1.1-million-bushel GSI steel tank, a 20,000-bph receiving leg and a 1,200-bushel mechnical receiving pit.

According to General Manager Mark Jaskowiak, a 22-year veteran of the grain and fertilizer industries, the Hoffman cooperative had been working on plans for expansion, and CP Rail had been seeking an upgrade to a full 8,500-foot ladder track to hold trains of up to 147 covered hopper cars or more.

The Pro Ag merger created more urgency for an upgrade, with additional storage needed to handle a bigger volume of grain from the combined cooperatives.

GSI tank, shipping legs anchor project

That $6 million upgrade got underway in the spring of 2018. It included:

  • A new 400,000-bushel GSI steel tank.
  • A pair of 30,000-bph GSI shipping legs.
  • An 80,000-bph InterSystems bulk weigh loadout scale along a siding track.
  • An upgraded rail loading system with CompuWeigh automation. Crews added a second bulkweigher. Terminal Manager Danny Pinske notes that having two bulkweighers, each with its own 40,000-bph GSI InterSystems diamond screener, helps clean up that much more foreign material from corn, which sometimes is a problem in that part of central Minnesota. A third screener rated at 25,000 bph handles grain from the receiving leg prior to storage or rail loadout.

Pro Ag took bids and hired Walt Johnson Construction & Crane, Alexandria, MN (320-763-9005), as general contractor and millwright on the project.

Pinske, who had been with the Hoffman cooperative prior to the merger, says Walt Johnson had built the 2013-14 terminal and had in-depth knowledge of the facility. It also helped that the contractor was headquartered less than a half hour’s drive away.

Other subcontractors taking part in the project:

  • VAA, LLC, Plymouth, MN (763-577-9100), did structural engineering on the project.
  • Dagel Steel Construction Inc., Florence, SD (605-886-3796), constructed the GSI tank.
  • Central Minnesota Masonry, Alexandria (320-763-4084), supplied concrete and poured the foundations.
  • Asmus Electric, LLC, Morris, MN (320-808-8566), did the electrical work.
  • Northern Plains Rail Companies, Fordville, ND (701-229-3330), did track construction on the rail expansion.

New portion of terminal readies to receive grain

Grain Journal visited the site in mid-September 2019. The new portion of terminal was scheduled to receive grain at the end of September.

The new GSI tank stands 78 feet in diameter, 93-1/2 feet tall at the eave, and 113 feet 9 inches tall at the peak.

The tank is equipped with a flat floor, outside stiffeners, 12-inch GSI X-Series zero-entry sweep auger, 15-cable grain temperature monitoring system from Carver Company, and a GSI Agri-Dry grain spreader.

A set of four GSI 20-hp centrifugal fans supply 1/10 cfm per bushel of aeration with the assistance of six 2-hp roof exhausters.

Incoming grain is weighed on an existing truck scale, although a Kahler electronic card reader is a new addition. After weighing, trucks proceed to one 1,200-bushel enclosed mechanical receiving pit. This feeds one 20,000-bph receiving leg outfitted with two rows of Maxi-Lift X-Treme 16x8 low-profile buckets mounted on a 36-inch belt.

The leg deposits grain into a five-duct Schlagel rotary-type distributor, which in turn sends grain into storage via 20,000-bph overhead GSI InterSystems drag conveyors.

The tanks empty into additional 60,000-bph above-ground belt conveyors running back to the 30,000-bph shipping legs.

Both bulkweighers now are equipped with CompuWeigh CD4000 controls and a railcar card reader. During loadout operations, workers will be protected by a Fall Protections Systems trolley unit running the length of seven railcars.

GSI InterSystems 60,000-bph above-ground reclaim belt conveyor and two of four GSI 20-hp centrifugal aeration fans.

Company Info, Pro Ag Farmers Cooperative

  • Parkers Prairie, MN • 218-338-3001
  • Founded • 1998
  • Storage capacity • 7 million bushels at six locations
  • Annual volume • 13 million bushels
  • Annual revenues • $100 million
  • Number of members • 1,200
  • Number of employees • 95
  • Crops handled • Corn, soybeans, soft red spring wheat, oats, rye
  • Services • Grain handling and merchandising, feed, agronomy, petroleum

Key personnel at Hoffman

  • Mark Jaskowiak, general manager
  • Danny Pinske, location manager
  • Tim Lauthen, merchandiser

Supplier List

  • Aeration fans • GSI
  • Automation system • Kahler Automation Corp.
  • Bin sweeps • GSI
  • Bucket elevators
  • Aeration fans • GSI
  • Automation system • Kahler Automation Corp.
  • Bin sweeps • GSI
  • Bucket elevators • GSI
  • Bulk weigh loadout scales • GSI InterSystems
  • Bulk weigh scale automation • CompuWeigh Corp.
  • Catwalks • GSI
  • Concrete • Central Minnesota Masonry
  • Contractor/millwright • Walt Johnson Construction & Crane
  • Conveyors • GSI
  • Distributor • Schlagel, Inc.
  • Elevator buckets • Maxi-Lift Inc.
  • Electrical contractor • Asmus Electric, LLC
  • Engineering • VAA, LLC
  • Excavation • The Tradesman Construction Company, Inc.
  • Fall protection • Fall Protection Systems Corp.
  • Grain spreader • GSI AgriDry
  • Grain temperature system • Carver Company Inc.
  • Hazard monitoring • Electro-Sensors, Inc.
  • Leg belting • Continental Belt
  • Motion sensors • 4B Components
  • Motors • Siemens
  • Rail construction • Northern Plains Rail
  • Sampler • Gamet Mfg. Inc.
  • Scale automation • Agvance
  • Screeners • GSI/InterSystems
  • Speed reducers • Dodge
  • Steel storage • GSI
  • Steel tank erection • Dagel Steel Construction
  • Tower support systems • GSI
  • Truck probe • Gamet Mfg. Co.
  • Truck scale • Prairie Scale
  • GSI
  • Bulk weigh loadout scales • GSI InterSystems
  • Bulk weigh scale automation • CompuWeigh Corp.
  • Catwalks • GSI
  • Concrete • Central Minnesota Masonry
  • Contractor/millwright • Walt Johnson Construction & Crane
  • Conveyors • GSI
  • Distributor • Schlagel, Inc.
  • Elevator buckets • Maxi-Lift Inc.
  • Electrical contractor • Asmus Electric, LLC
  • Engineering • VAA, LLC
  • Excavation • The Tradesman Construction Company, Inc.
  • Fall protection • Fall Protection Systems Corp.
  • Grain spreader • GSI AgriDry
  • Grain temperature system • Carver Company Inc.
  • Hazard monitoring • Electro-Sensors, Inc.
  • Leg belting • Continental Belt
  • Motion sensors • 4B Components
  • Motors • Siemens
  • Rail construction • Northern Plains Rail
  • Sampler • Gamet Mfg. Inc.
  • Scale automation • Agvance
  • Screeners • GSI/InterSystems
  • Speed reducers • Dodge
  • Steel storage • GSI
  • Steel tank erection • Dagel Steel Construction
  • Tower support systems • GSI
  • Truck probe • Gamet Mfg. Co.
  • Truck scale • Prairie Scale

— Ed Zdrojewski, editor

GRAIN JOURNAL September/October 2019 Issue

GSI InterSystems bulkweigher at the Hoffman terminal at right. At left, two GSI 30,000-bph shipping legs. At center, twin GSI InterSystems 40,000-bph screeners.

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