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P & H adds new terminal

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The worst kept secret in Gilbert Plains is out. Parrish and Heimbecker (P&H) announced the construction of a new crop input centre and grain terminal in the Rural Municipality of Gilbert Plains, Aug. 1.
Crystal Barker, P&H Dutton Siding general manager made the announcement at its annual Field Intelligence Trial (FIT) tour, under the beautiful backdrop of the Gilbert Plains Country Club.
“It could be as early as May of 2019, but with permits and everything else, that could get stretched out a little bit. But, we’ve started the process,” she said, noting the new grain elevator and crop input centre is five miles east of Gilbert Plains.
The new facility, which will be named Grand Plains, will house 25,000 to 30,000 tonnes of grain storage, with a receiving capacity of 550 tonnes per hour and a load-out capacity of 1,500 tonnes per hour.
The site will also have a bulk fertilizer shed located on CN Railway to provide greater access to fertilizer markets across North America and around the world.
The fertilizer shed will have a 6,000 tonne capacity and blending capability of 250 tonnes per hour.
It will be the first bulk fertilizer storage shed in the Parkland, Barker said, with on-rail access to receive fertilizer.
“So that’s a pretty big deal for competitiveness. It allows us to access some global markets, which aren’t accessible to us now,” she added.
A chemical storage shed, seed treating facilities and new grain drying system will also be located on site.
The new elevator has a 154-car loop track, which is again, the first of its size for the Parkland, Barker said, noting with any rail expansion, there are improved freight rates for producers.
Additionally, bigger loading docks, she said, can attract other markets.
“It’s pretty exciting for the area. This will be the first new elevator in the area for quite a while,” Barker said.
The Parkland is a great farming community, she noted, but it is a unique market, as there are mountains on both sides, making it a different draw area.
Barker feels producers are not going to see a lot of larger companies targetting the area, pointing out P&H is firmly committed to it.
“We’ve been here for a long time. We like the area, we like the wheat that comes from this area, so it’s a pretty big deal for them (P&H) to be investing significantly in the area of agriculture,” she added.
Barker anticipates the new crop input centre and grain terminal will impact local producers, regardless of whether they are P&H customers.
“Just having that extra 154-car loader kind of pushes everyone to step up,” she said, noting it is a competitive industry where prices are often similar and having freight advantages, plus market areas, will draw out all the other companies.
The industry has been around for a long time, she said, noting new efficiencies keep changing and as companies continue investing, it drives the industry forward.
The build should have an impact on the level of competitiveness Dauphin valley farmers have, Barker said, when marketing their grain and purchasing crop inputs.
Grand Plains will be the first new elevator built in the area, she added, in almost 20 years.
Its location will service the Parkland region, including the communities of Grandview, Gilbert Plains, Roblin, Swan River, Dauphin and Ochre River.
On-site seed treating facilities will service the direct-to-grower market and will also supply the current P&H site in Swan River.
P&H is a 110 year old family owned Canadian company.
“It was started by a Parrish and a Heimbecker and we still have Parrish’s and Heimbecker’s involved in the business, which is one of those anomalies that you never see,” Barker said.
“It’s tough enough for a family to stay in business, let alone two families.”
That longevity demonstrates the culture of the business, she said, noting the focus is on sustainable growth and long term investment.
P&H has 14 grain handling facilities in western Canada, as well as another eight ag. retail sites and is the largest Canadian owned milling company.
“Milling is what we do and kind of our bread and butter,” Barker said.
In the last several years, the company has made some significant investment in the fertilizer side of the industry and Barker is pleased P&H is bringing its expertise to Manitoba.
For more information on P&H, visit parrishandheimbecker.com.v

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M. A. Nyquist
REPORTER
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