Ground was broken on a new larger capacity Starland Seed Cleaning Plant.
The Mail reported in April of last year the Seed Cleaning plant was wrapping up its fundraising efforts, looking for investors who were interested in taking on the expansion. The plans include a larger plant to handle larger transport vehicles and possibly expand into a value-added component, including cleaning grains for export.
Al Hampton of the board says they met their fundraising goal and are taking the next steps to have the facility built. They officially broke ground on the project on Friday, April 22.
“It’s been a big project to get it to this point but we have shareholder investment, and we have a long-term loan secured through capital finance, with the county. We have a contractor who is going to put in for the project and we’ll be starting site work here,” said Hampton.
He explains the new plant will replace the existing facility in Delia, which has been in operation since the 1960s. The one major difference will be the size. While the original plant was built for 3-ton trucks, this will accommodate modern transportation.
The new plant will be situated on 10 acres about two miles northwest of Delia on highway 851.
“It has good sighting and access. It’s a little more central to Starland county but it can probably be utilized by people from Stettler County, Special Areas, and eastern parts of Starland County,” said Hampton. “Business potential should be pretty good.”
He said they are also looking at an expanded new business model. He says the plant should be twice as fast for cleaning.
“We are going to try this business model and turn it into more of a grain processing facility where we can hopefully get some contracts for intermodal hauling to create a little bit of a niche market for producers utilizing this plant,” explains Hampton.
“We are going to try to clean to export standards and hopefully guys can get some contracts with line companies to be able to send intermodal,” he said. “Our intent is to get beyond a seed cleaning plant.”
“I would say it is an exciting venture for the farming community and the farm community was quite supportive of it. We have approximately 93 investors that put cash in to get it going.”
He says when breaking it down by acre, the investment represents about 60-65 per cent of the farmable acres in Starland.
“Number one it will function as a grain cleaning facility, but number two hopefully we can create some export business so we can value add to the producer,” he said.
He adds it will create employment through the construction as well as possibly a few more attendants.
“We are anticipating twice as many bushels, so at least we’ll have two employees. If we can get the export grain portion of it going, we could probably hire four or five people.”
He anticipates opening by December.