Special Edition: Feed Technology

USDA rural programs offer feed mill tech upgrades

By Aerin Einstein-Curtis

- Last updated on GMT

© iStock.com/BrianAJackson
© iStock.com/BrianAJackson
A Wisconsin feed mill is among those to see funding from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) for technology improvements.

An approximately $1.5m state loan includes funding for the construction of a grain bin, grain dryer and conveying equipment at the company’s Luxemburg, Wisconsin facility, said officials with the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service .

The Rio Creek Feed Mill also had been awarded a more than $93,000 grant that came through the USDA’s Rural Development program and offered the company the ability to purchase a more energy efficient piece of grain drying equipment, said Kelly Edwards, Wisconsin public information coordinator with USDA Rural Development.

There are several types of funding available through the Rural Energy for America Program, which includes a grant process, she told FeedNavigator. The program offers loan guarantee financing and grant funding to agricultural producers and rural small businesses to purchase, or install, renewable energy systems, or to make improvements in energy efficiency. Grant applications are accepted all year reviewed by the state energy coordinator, or companies can apply for a guaranteed loan through the process.

The renewable energy grant helped the feed mill replace an older and outdated grain dryer at its Luxemburg, Wisconsin facility, said employee Allison Barta. It was the first time the company had applied for the funding.

“We’d had a small fire in the old dryer, and it was more than 10 years old,” ​she said.  “We updated it to be able to dry more bushels and faster.”

Tech specifics

The new energy efficient, drying machine is capable of managing from 2,820 to 4,700 bushels in an hour, said Barta.

“To be able to store grain, you have to dry the grain,” ​she said. “Otherwise it molds, and you can’t sell a moldy product. It’s not good for livestock or for export.”

While there are a few remaining details to be completed, the facility has been in operation for several months, she said.

The company found out mid-summer that they had been approved for the funds, she said. And the majority of the construction was done in the early fall.

The feed mill’s facility can manage about 1.9m bushels, she said. In addition to the larger dryer at the Luxemburg site, the company also has a smaller dryer at their main facility.

Project details

The equipment being funded through the loan is part of Wisconsin’s freight-rail initiatives, said USDA officials. And, it is designed to help the feed mill expand its current capacity to manage canola pellets and canola meal.

It also is intended to help the feed mill offer more support to area growers who ship corn, oats, wheat or soybeans, they said.

The overall project was designed to offer support or expand use of rail transportation, boost economic development and job growth, they said. Information about the award to Rio Creek Feed Mill Company and others involved was released in January.

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