US: New, larger feed mill for coop in Illinois

By Aerin Einstein-Curtis

- Last updated on GMT

© South Central FS
© South Central FS
South Central FS, an agriculture cooperative based in southeast Illinois in the midwestern region of the US, is to open a new and larger feed production facility.

FS Total Livestock Services is its feed marketing division.

The FS System is an agriculture-focused cooperative with locally owned member companies in Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin and Ontario, California. 

The new feed mill is expected to start coming online by the middle of April, said Phil Westendorf, feed marketing manager with FS Total Livestock Services. At that time, the current feed mill will cease production.

“The new mill will enable us to have more ingredients and take advantage of market opportunities to better serve our customers,”​ he told FeedNavigator.

The existing feed mill has been in operation since 1990, he said. “Our challenge is our feed business has continued to grow and we’ve outgrown the facility,”​ he added.

However, that site will continue to provide bagged feed sales and house feed sales offices, he said. “We wanted to separate production from retail,”​ he added.

The location of the older feed production facility is central for current customers, said Westendorf. “The production site at Watson, [Illinois] is not far, but it’s not as centrally located, [and] we already have these offices and warehouses in place, so we didn’t want to rebuild those at the production facility,”​ he added.

The new location was selected, in part, for access to transportation opportunities, he said.

Additionally, separating the production space from the retail environment will help bring the new feed mill into compliance with Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) rules, he said. “Having retail and production separate – it makes it easier to meet some of the FSMA requirements,”​ he added.

Feed facility details

The new, 10-acre facility will generate several types of animal feed and related products, including premixes, show feed and feeds for dairy cows, beef cattle, poultry and swine, said Westendorf.

“We’re pretty diversified in our species that we service,” ​he said. “The livestock industry has changed, and the livestock numbers in our service area have continued to grow, which has turned into more feed tons.”

The new location will include a 4-ton mixer that is able to mix 60 tons of feed an hour, two roller mills, a 100,000-bushel grain bin and provide the cooperative the ability to pellet feed, he said. It also will provide a range of bag sizes for products.

“We’ll [also] have two scales,”​ he said. “One for weighing ingredients in and out and one for finished feeds to load out – so we load out on the scale.”

The new location also has an increased amount of automation, said Westendorf. “It will relieve pressure on weighing out ingredients,”​ he added.

Consideration of the project started about two years ago and work to develop the site of the new feed production facility started about a year ago, he said. “This is a big step for us,”​ he added.

“Our ingredients will be sourced the same place that they had been,” ​he said. “Total Grain Marketing sources our corn, they’re the grain division of our co-op, and the [other] ingredients come a little from everywhere – most come within a 150-mile radius.”

Total project cost is not being released at this time.

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