December 20, 2014

Auburn Bean & Grain’s Standish plant ships out first trainload

Andrew Kent
A train car is filled with soybeans Nov. 6.
Andrew Kent
A train car is filled with soybeans Nov. 6.
Tim Barnum
A crew works on one of the 750,000-bushel silos Nov. 7 at Auburn Bean& Grain in Standish.
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11/7/13

LINCOLN TWP. — Crops stored at Auburn Bean & Grain silos in Standish have officially been dispersed to the rest of the nation, as 330,000 bushels of soybeans were transported from the plant this week.

Plant manager Kyle Arnold said 90 train cars were filled during an 18-hour period Tuesday, Nov. 5 and Wednesday, Nov. 6.

“It wasn’t as smooth as we hoped, but it’s the first (trainload),” he said. “This plant’s all computer controlled, so there were some issues there.”

Arnold said in the future, loading times are expected to be cut in half to nine hours. Although the loading process took longer than planned, Arnold said he still felt things went well since the soybeans, which were bound for the southeast portion of the United States where they will be loaded onto a ship, were high quality.

Auburn Bean & Grain general manager Bob Kennedy said the soybean shipment marks the end of the plant’s startup phase.

“That was the last part of the startup, to load our first train,” he said. “So we’ve got that done, and now we’re fully functional.”

Kennedy said there is no set date for when the next train will arrive to transport crops grown in the area throughout the country.

“There’s not a set time,” he said. “It depends on when you need it, and when you sell the grain. It’ll be periodically throughout the year.”

According to Arnold, the soybean shipment could be one of just two trainloads taken from the Standish plant this year. He said having more trains at this time of the year could cause an inconvenience to local producers.

“We try not to load them during harvest that much because it blocks the driveway,” he said.

Arnold said there will be approximately 12 trains loaded at the new plant next year.

A long loading time was not a major problem for the soybean load, but when the plant begins to ship trainloads of corn, Arnold said there will be a much stricter deadline for filling the cars. He said the deadline starts when the train leaves a CSX line in Flint and starts traveling on the Lake State Railway Corporation rail.

“When it hits Flint, the timer starts, and it has to be back in Flint 24 hours from then,” he said.

The majority of the corn taken from the silos in Standish will be transported to feeder farms in the southern U.S., Arnold said. Corn will be stored in at least one of the 750,000-bushel bins until late June or early July, and then the bins will be cleaned and prepared for the wheat harvest, according to Arnold.

There are three 750,000-bushel silos at the local plant, as well one smaller silo, which brings the total capacity to 2.5 million bushels, Arnold said. One of the larger bins is still under construction, but as of now, there is no more expansion in the works, he said.

Kennedy said the elevator’s basic purpose is to ship locally grown crops to buyers throughout the nation.

“We buy from the grower and then turn around and sell it to the end users, which there are a lot of them,” he said.

Arnold said the plant, which opened in August, is expected to make things easier for a lot of Auburn Bean & Grain’s existing clients.

“We had a lot of customers from up here that took their stuff to the Auburn plant, so this is more convenient for them,” he said.

Auburn Bean & Grain also has elevators in Auburn, Oakley and Hemlock.

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