The facility sits on the CSX rail line. According to Seth Garver, operations manager, this makes it easy to ship corn to pork producers in North Carolina.
“We can ship corn directly down to our facilities on a rail and not having to truck anything,” he says.
The other feature that attracted Smithfield to Northern Indiana is the quality of the corn that growers produce.
“We get high quality corn, and that’s what we’re in the business for right now in Indiana and Ohio—buying quality corn and shipping it down to our females in North Carolina,” says Garver. “That’s the major crop here—that’s what’s produced the most in this area and in Ohio—and that’s obviously what we feed our hogs.”
Garver also manages two elevators in Ohio. Based on those, he anticipates the LaPaz location will pull from a 50-mile radius or greater. The facility can hold more than 1 million bushels of corn.
In the future, Smithfield is hoping to add more storage. But in the near term, Garver says his focus is on building the relationship with customers and the community.
“Every farmer is important to me,” he says. “I care about you bringing in the grain. I want people coming in the door, I want people to enjoy being here. I know it’s a big corporation, but we want to make it feel like it’s a co-op and a local place just like it’s been here for years. We want to be a good member of the community.”
Garver says that since they’re an end-user, producers should see some favorable bids.