By Doug Graves
HENDERSON, Ky. – A new grain elevator is in the works for western Kentucky farmers who are hauling their corn, wheat and soybeans to market.
A Denver-based company, Greenfield Grain LLC, has plans to build the elevator and loading dock on the Ohio River at the 25-acre site of the Henderson County Riverport on Old Geneva Road. The company is seeking a permit from the Army Corps of Engineer as well as the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet. The company will move forward with construction and hopes to have the facility complete by 2023.
Having another sizable grain elevator competing for local grain could potentially increase prices farmers receive. And, just as significantly, a newer, faster facility could offer an alternative to long wait times by grain trucks at the Gavillon grain elevator on South Main Street, which is currently the principal buyer of grain here.
“The highlight of this new grain elevator will be speed and efficiency, being able to serve at least 500 trucks a day with a goal of getting the farmers in and out quickly,” said Kyle Egbert, CEO of Greenfield Grain LLC. “The new elevator will provide four grain silos with a storage capacity of 185,000 bushels in each.”
According to officials, there will be three truck pits each rated at 30,000 bushels per hour. They say that unlike most elevators that were built in the 1950s, this new one will have advanced technology and be safer for the environment.
“We want to have a facility that incorporates closed conveyer belts, the latest dust systems, the latest technology that can monitor where your bins are, what your temps are, what you have in each one, how you’re blending and how you’re moving,” Egbert said. “So, a lot of that stuff makes a big deal because eventually, you want to put that on a barge. It’s the most energy efficient way to get it down a river. Put it down there and get it out to the center gulf.”
Egbert said the location for the elevator is in a prime spot. “This area is a fantastic area for farmers,” he said. “We think that the area here in Henderson has been one that’s historically underserved. There’s just not a whole lot of infrastructure here and we can come in and have a meaningful impact.”
According to Chris Case, Greenfield’s director of operations, Greenfield has plans for four concrete grain storage silos measuring 140 feet tall with diameters of about 50 feet. The three truck pits will measure 12 feet by 28 feet each.
Its barge loading conveyor system would be capable of drawing grain from the silos or directly from the pit into which farmers’ trucks would dump grain. Of particular interest to farmers, Case said, will be the speed at which the proposed elevator would operate.
“There will be three truck pits, so it’ll be fast,” Case said. “If we’re in a position where we’re dumping in-house (to its grain silos) and loading (onto barges), too, this facility will be capable of handling 500-plus (semi-trailer) trucks a day without breaking a sweat. It’s also designed so we can add on in the future.”
Case said company officials listened to the needs of farmers in the area, knowing they were concerned about prices, efficiency and speed.
“I think probably one of the biggest things is the competition with the prices,” said Jessica Buckman, agricultural extension agent for the Highland County Extension Office. “If there are more elevators, they will be competing to have the best price. It gives the producers more options to take their grain to wherever they can get a higher cost out of it. Also, it’s very expensive to haul grain. The more elevators we have, the more options we’ll have.”
In 2020, Henderson County led Kentucky in soybean production with nearly 5.4 million bushels while nearby Union County led the state in corn production at more than 16.2 million. Henderson County ranked third in corn production that year while Daviess County ranked in the top five in both.
The proposed Greenfield terminal would employ 10 or 11 people, according to Case.