About 200 Millard County farmers have shipped wheat, barley and corn from a former livestock barn that was renovated into a grain shipping terminal in June by the Farmers Grain Cooperative of Ogden. The building was bought for $58,000 in March.
Delta has the only such facility south of Ogden, although the company has 13 terminals north of Ogden in Utah and Idaho.The Delta terminal is expected to expand, according to its manager, Ron Escobedo. Plans call for installing grain bins and receiving different varieties of wheat if volume warrants the expansion. He said about 25 rail cars, each holding about 190,000 pounds of grain, and many trucks have left the terminal loaded with grain from Millard County since the terminal was opened.
The terminal building was used for the junior livestock show until other facilities were built in conjunction with the new county fairgrounds east of Delta. The company's minor modifications adapted the building well for storing, loading and shipping grain. A rail spur added to the convenience of the location for that purpose, and the site was already zoned for such a use.
Millard County farmers are getting cost savings in shipping because of the new terminal. They previously paid for shipping grain to Ogden, some of which was then routed by rail through the area where it was grown en route to the Southern California market. It is estimated that the savings have amounted to about $35 per acre.
The co-op's secretary, Sheila Curtis, noted that area farmers receive about the same price as that paid in Ogden. She added that prices fluctuate rapidly but are checked four times daily to find the most profitable markets. Volumes shipped by individual farmers since the terminal opened range as high as 900,000 pounds.
Millard County farmers produced 1,178,000 bushels of barley, 406,000 bushels of corn and 566,000 bushels of wheat last year, according to Utah Department of Agriculture figures. There are some 630 farms in the county, averaging about 760 acres in size.
Pillsbury and General Mills are among the larger buyers of grain from the Utah cooperative. It also sells feed for a variety of animals, ranging from horses to dogs. Some sales are overseas.