Fire destroyed feed mill rises from ashes

By Aerin Einstein-Curtis contact

- Last updated on GMT

© CRC
© CRC
A feed mill in Caledonia, New York that generated feed for Purina Animal Nutrition has been rebuilt and opened after being destroyed in a fire in 2014.

The rebuilt mill facility cost about $18m and had its grand opening on Tuesday, said Les Cole, president of Commodity Resource Corporation (CRC) – the company that built and owns the mill.

The previous feed production facility was destroyed during a fire in November, 2014, he said. The fire was attributed to spontaneous combustion.

Purina Animal Nutrition, owned by Minnesota-based Land O’Lakes, reportedly was producing feed at the facility at that time. The company has remained involved with the rebuild process, a spokesperson said.

Although the rebuilt feed mill is owned by CRC, the company has signed a 15-year lease with Land O’Lakes and Purina Animal Nutrition to use the facility for dairy feed manufacture, said Cole. Running one shift, the plant is able to generate about 104,000 tons of feed annually.

“It’s a Cadillac mill,”​ he told FeedNavigator. “We didn’t cut any corners on building it, – we decided to build a mill that will have a long life, and we spent a little more than we wanted to spend, but we got a really nice mill.”

Purina and Land O’Lakes also were involved in the design of the new facility, a Land O’Lakes spokesperson told us. “Across our enterprise, we constantly look for opportunities to improve efficiency and the customer experience, and designing this plant was no different,”​ she added.

Work on the replacement feed facility started about 19 months ago and the building covers the same basic footprint as the previous plant, said Cole. The site features a railroad line juncture and rail infrastructure.

“We’re proud to be part of the agricultural community and industry,” ​he said. “We hope this will be an important part of infrastructure for that industry in this part of the country for a long time to come.”

Markets served

The plant in Caledonia is expected to generate dairy feed for producers in Western New York, said Land O’Lakes.  

“We value the New York location because it’s a key dairy market with a bright future due to the strong dairy producers present in the state,” ​the spokesperson said. “Land O’Lakes, Inc. is a member-owned dairy cooperative committed to serving the dairy marketplace. The new plant in Caledonia, New York, highlights our company’s long-term commitment to the marketplace.”

New facility details

The new feed facility has updated technology and increased levels of automation, said Cole. About 13 people are needed to run the mill.

The site includes a five-ton duel ribbon mixer, 16 storage silos, two 18,000 bushel corn tanks, 26 storage bins in the main tower and 66 bulk storage bins overall, he said. “If the feed industry changes capacity we’ve got enough storage so we can flex with the changes in technology,” ​he added.

Additionally, the safety features in the new facility have been examined and updated to address the potential for fire hazards, said Cole.

“The first plant was a horizontal mill, and it was basically made out of more combustible materials,” he said. “This is steel and concrete and we put sprinkler facilities in.”

“The safety of our employees is one of our top priorities,”​ added the spokesperson. “We continually evaluate and build on opportunities to improve safety in our facilities, and we did so in this project.”

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