Ohio based Trupointe Cooperative has made a multimillion dollar investment in Northern Indiana with a new state of the art facility in Kosciusko County. The facility just outside Milford, IN, is impressive — not only in its size, but in its efficiency. The facility has dry fertilizer storage for 37,000 tons of product. A computerized mixing and delivery system allows a truck to be loaded in 7 minutes. The liquid building features 16 tanks that can store 12,000 gallons each with 13 external tanks that hold in total hold 390,000 gallons. A touch screen computer allows an operator to custom mix an order on the spot. Plant manager Chase Snyder told HAT that the anhydrous ammonia facility holds 150,000 gallons, “We have the ability to load 16 tanks simultaneously in about 15 minutes.” Using highly sophisticated automation, the plant can be operated with a minimum of people and can offer 24/7 self-service for growers. When at full staff, the facility will employ about 50 people, half of what a traditional facility might need.
Snyder says Trupointe sees tremendous potential in Indiana agriculture, but also saw some real logistical advantages in Indiana rail system, “This location features the intersection of the CSX and NS rail lines — one only a few such locations east of the Mississippi. This opens up our facility to a wide array of domestic markets, but international as well.” The facility can handle 150 rail cars at a time and has its own in-house locomotive to move and unload cars quickly. These logistics, along with the large storage capacity, will allow Trupointe to buy in large quantities and always have a good supply of fertilizer and crop chemicals available for Indiana growers. “We are excited to work with and serve the growers of Indiana,” Trupointe CEO Larry Hammond said during opening ceremonies in June. “Our Board of Directors and administration chose the Milford location due to the successful agricultural industry surrounding the area and the crossing of two main railway lines, allowing us to provide key resources and opportunities to the growers of Indiana.”
Getting the products to the growers is another key element of the Trupointe system. Jim Wolf, agronomy sales manager, says the Trupointe hub concept allows this one location to supply product and service to growers in a 60 mile radius. He said Trupointe experts can work individual growers to customize a mix of products that meet a growers specific needs, and then deliver the product directly to the farm within a matter of hours, “This kind of service is becoming more important as farmers become larger and more mobile.” He added, a salesman can be with a farmer in his field, place the order on his wireless device which is sent electronically to the hub at Milford, and, within a matter of minutes, the products are being loaded on trucks and are on their way to the field. Trupointe also offers custom application services. The hub concept lets the application equipment stay in the field, and the hub delivers the exact mix of products to the equipment in the field. Wolf stressed this service is especially good for smaller growers who can get a high level of service without having to invest in equipment. He added this speed and efficiency will become vital as grower margins get tighter and yields become even more important.
Trupointe expects to add a grain handling and storage facility to the Milford location by the fall of 2015. A seed treatment facility is also in the planning stages for the Milford location. Based in Piqua, Ohio, the member owner co-op has 4 such hub locations serving over 10,000 customers. This is Trupointe’s first facility in the Hoosier State. Thirty-five contractors and sub-contractors were used in the construction of the plant which has had a local economic impact of over $6 million. Wolf said they are excited to be in Indiana and are looking forward to building relationships with growers across the northern part of the state.