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$25 million elevator expansion underway in Morgan

Farmward Cooperative Morgan project adds safety, automation

Photos courtesy of Farmward Cooperative The first phase of the construction and expansion project is slated to be completed late this year. Below is artist rendering of the project.

MORGAN — Motorists on State Highway 67 may wonder what a 200-foot crane is doing at the Farmward Cooperative Morgan grain elevator.

It’s part of a $25 million elevator expansion project with safety and automation technology updates that will enable the elevator to operate more efficiently and safely.

Aided by unseasonably moderate winter temperatures and low precipitation, demolition and construction of the Farmward Cooperative Morgan grain elevator project was slightly ahead of schedule early this year.

Farmward Morgan Location Manager Dan Christensen said phase one of the project is scheduled to be complete late this year. Phase two with feed mill receiving and storage upgrades is planned to be complete in mid-summer of 2025.

“Initial discussion about the project to determine the elevator future began at least 10 years ago before we decided to do it. The town is excited,” said Christensen.

He said the project includes local contractors such as Schaefer Contracting of New Ulm and Mathiowetz Construction of Leavenworth and other firms from Sleepy Eye, Morgan, Springfield, Marshall and Ormsby.

“We’ll have more speed and efficiency. Safety is another big aspect of it. Our new main receiving tower will be taller, 167 feet high,” Christensen said.

“The original (grain elevator) head house (that houses machinery that runs a vertical conveyor belt that hauls grain up and down) was built about 70 years ago. Two annexes were built a bit later. They served their purpose, but to meet the needs of local patrons with the speed they harvest at nowadays, we had to make a decision to reinvest in our patrons,” he added.

A bean shed was demolished and steel removed from the site early this year, making room for excavation of a boot pit (to house elevating equipment for a grain handling facility).

Grain bin moving with the crane is set to take place in mid-June.

“We hope to be operational this year to be able to receive and store grain this year. We will have full automation for hazard monitoring, grain bin temperature sensors, and speed monitors for 3 million bushels of upright storage at one location. Right now we have to transfer grain between two locations in town,” Christensen said.

Three new 1,000-bushel receiving capacity pits will be more than two times faster, able to receive 60,000 bushels an hour.

Morgan Farmward Cooperative CEO John Husk ask that anyone interested in checking out project process not enter the construction site.

“We encourage all to park on the opposite side of Front Street or Vernon Ave. along side streets,” Husk wrote on the Farmward website.

He explained why the project happened.

“Over the years, the agriculture industry has been an increasing trend of higher yields, larger equipment, and a faster rate of harvesting crops,” said Husk.

“As Farmward Cooperative seeks to fulfill it’s mission of advancing farming for generations, an emphasis to cater to the trending demands in agriculture is vital. Therefore, Farmward Cooperative is excited to announce the construction and expansion of the Morgan grain elevator. Farmward is proud to invest in the community of Morgan and our growers with the Morgan elevator project. We invite you to follow construction progress on our website and social media,” he added.

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