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Grain elevators getting a facelift

Several eastern Idaho grain elevators are getting makeovers to make harvest time quicker for farmers.

Thresher Artisan Wheat began construction for the grain elevators this summer and plans to finish in time for harvest. Given the age of some of the grain elevators, it’s been hard to keep up with the farmers’ production.

“Farmers are always getting better and better technology,” said Don Wille, Thresher Artisan Wheat’s chief executive officer. “They can harvest it twice as fast as we can dump it. We have to do something to get closer to their technologies.”

American Falls grain elevator manager Todd Permann couldn’t agree more. In the past, farmers would dump their grains onto a field near American Falls High School. They would also have to weigh in and weigh out at the Thresher office across town.

“It worked for us for a lot of years. We were able to move the grain quickly enough that we hardly had any loss,” said Permann. “It worked out all right, but it’s a gamble you take and we just decided we don’t want that anymore.”

At the new facility, the grain would be dumped into a covered elevator. It would keep the grain in a condition ready to be picked up at a later time.

Weighing scales would also be on-site, so farmers won’t have to drive back and forth on the town’s streets.

If all goes according to plan, Permann expects harvest time will be cut by a week in American Falls.

“Most (farmers) are doing grain, beets, potatoes, and then they have to put their fall wheat in the ground,” he said. “They’re timeline is relatively short and it’s a lot of things to get done in a hurry. So if we can give them an extra week, that’s a huge deal to them.”

Other towns upgrading their grain elevators are Blackfoot, Rockford, Newdale and Moreland. The Blackfoot facility is slated to be done by October, Thresher said it wouldn’t affect harvest operations.

Altogether, the grain elevators are expected to increase grain handling by nearly 2.5 million bushels.

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