StateLine makes progress on Guckeen grain facility

GUCKEEN – Construction is progressing nicely at a grain facility StateLine Cooperative is building on County Road 16 just east of Guckeen.

An office in Blue Earth is also in the works, says Larry Sterk, company CEO.

“The contractors have really done well out there,” he said. “The weather we can’t control.”

StateLine began the project after hearing from local farmers earlier this year that they needed a place close by to haul their grain.

After StateLine went through the necessary legal hurdles and soil-testing, ground was broken a few weeks ago.

The plan is for the $7 million, 1.7-million bushel facility to be operational by autumn 2014. Sterk says construction is on track to meet that goal.

Phase 1 called for two bins. The concrete, footings and stem walls are in place for both. The floor is in on the first bin and Sterk hopes the floor of the second bin will be done in a couple of days, but it depends on the weather.

“It looks like it will get cold this weekend,” Sterk noted.

Crews cannot pour concrete if the temperature is too cold, but they can continue to work on the first bin. Sterk said seven semi-loads of steel have been delivered.

“That bin is starting to go up as we speak,” he said. “I was told they started on the roof [Tuesday].”

The roof is put on, then jacked up so crews can put in a ring of steel. The crews can continue to assemble the bins in the cold.

“I hope both those big steel bins will be put up this winter,” Sterk said, “but that’s all until the weather warms up and frost gets out of the ground and we can pour concrete.

“We’re pushing it hard to get done before it freezes up,” he added.

Getting as much done before winter is important so StateLine can begin serving farmers. To that end, Sterk suggested to the StateLine board on Thursday that an office be set up in Blue Earth.

“They’re excited about it,” he said.

“The office will provide all accounting services like we do in Iowa,” Sterk said.

The office will be able to cut checks to farmers, who can buy and sell grain, and have access to all information even if they haul grain to another StateLine facility.

The office will be near the mall on Grove Street and be open by Dec. 15.

“We like the location, next to the FSA office, lot of farmer traffic,” Sterk said.

But that office will be temporary.

“Once we get the site up and running, we’ll move the office to the site of the grain facility,” Sterk said. “We think by early summer, the complex will be far enough along we’ll move everything out to the grain site.

“As employees and directors, we’re real excited about the project,” Sterk said. “It’s coming along.”