Local grain headed overseas thanks to new facility in Chippewa F - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Local grain headed overseas thanks to new facility in Chippewa Falls


Chippewa Falls (WQOW) - Grain grown locally will soon find a new home overseas.  A Chippewa Falls co-op has a new way to get the grain leftover from making ethanol to new markets.

"We can take our product in this area and market it all over the world," said Bruce Mlsna, River Country Co-op CEO.

Grain from the Chippewa Valley will soon be going global, thanks to an agreement with railroad company Canadian National and River County Co-op. The Chippewa Falls co-op opened a new rail loading facility Friday.

"What we're going to do is load rail cars with distiller's grain primarily and soybeans and we transfer them from this property over to the CN, which is next door to us. Our facility is located adjacent to the CN, so we load our trailers to 29 tons, which would be illegal on a normal state highway. But we don't have to go out on a highway; we can just transfer it from our property to the CN," explained Mlsna.

The distiller's grain, which is essentially ground up corn from local farmers, then leaves the Chippewa Valley for Canada, before it crosses the Pacific Ocean.

"These loads here that we're loading today are going to China. They can't grow enough food over there to feed their animals because they just don't have the geography to do that. It's a viable feed that people can feed to their animals. It's got a protein content in it, it's dry, it's palatable, so farmers feed it to their livestock," Mlsna added.

One thing that sets this system apart is the fact that grain is actually being weighed on a truck scale as it's being loaded up. By doing two things at once, the co-op says they expect to ship fifteen to twenty containers each day.

"We're hoping it helps get our products out there, and provides a better price for our farmers. That's the ultimate goal," Mlsna said.

Construction isn't completely finished on the facility in Chippewa Falls. In the next few weeks, work is expected to begin on a building that will cover the loading area to protect against rain or snow. Three full-time jobs will be added to keep up with the process.

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