Back in 2011, a group of four local cooperatives teamed up with ADM Benson Quinn in a partnership to build a greenfield rail-loading terminal with a 8,500-foot loop track to serve farmers and grain handling companies in northeastern North Dakota. The four local cooperatives were:

• Edinburg Farmers Elevator.

• Hoople Farmers Elevator.

• Nash Farmers Elevator.

• Grafton Farmers Elevator.

They formed Walsh Grain Terminal, which constructed an elevator including both slipform concrete and corrugated steel upright storage in Park River, ND.

“We were founded to give farmers shorter access to a terminal to serve export,” says General Manager Kilen Flanagan, who joined the venture in 2016 immediately after graduating from college.

“We load 110-car shuttle trains on the BNSF (Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway),” he says, noting the facility’s loop track has the capacity to hold up to 130 covered hopper cars. “So far this year (early July 2022), we’ve loaded four unit trains. We’ve sent corn and soybeans to the Pacific Northwest, wheat to locations in the United States, and some corn to Canada.”

In its first decade of existence, Walsh Grain Terminal has expanded once with new steel storage in the mid-2010s and now has added 1.1 million bushels of upright storage in the form of two 569,000-bushel Chief steel tanks, which went into service earlier this year.

“The additional storage allows us to put a better bid in front of the customer, and it allows for more efficient handling of grain at harvest. We can arbitrage the market with a premium to store grain.

“We intend to keep growing, and we hope to continue handling more grain.”

The Expansion

For its 2021 expansion, Walsh Grain Terminal shopped around its plans to several contractors in the region and awarded the contractor to Kava Construction, Inc., Fargo, ND. Kava acted as general contractor and millwright on the roughly $5 million project. “Kava had the best plan we saw for enhancing the efficiency of the facility,” Flanagan says.

Cross Country Construction, Elbow Lake, MN, erected the two new tanks.

Hope Electric, Hope, ND, provided the automation controls and hazard monitoring equipment, while VAA, LLC, Plymouth, MN performed structural engineering on the project.

Work on the project began early in the summer of 2021, and the expansion was ready to go operational in July, shortly before Grain Journal visited the site.

Project Description

Soil conditions at the Park River site were ideal for heavy construction, so little foundational work was required, and no pilings were needed, Flanagan comments.

The two tanks stand atop 7-foot stem walls, 92 feet 10 inches in diameter, 99 feet tall at the eaves, and almost 125 feet tall at the peak. Neither tank has sidedraw spouts.

The tanks are equipped with flat concrete floors and Prairie Land Bin Gator paddle sweeps. At the time Grain Journal visited, Hope Electric was installing its 16-cable grain temperature monitoring systems and radar-type level monitors in the tanks.

Each tank also was equipped with four Chief Agri Caldwell 50-hp centrifugal fans capable of delivering 1/11 cfm per bushel of aeration on corn and 1/14 on wheat through in-floor ducting.

Grain is delivered to the new storage from existing equipment via a Schlagel overhead 22,000-bph drag conveyor. Tom-Cin Metals constructed a tower and catwalk supporting the conveyor.

In addition to the conveyor, the tower also holds a GSI 20,000-bph gravity screener for cleaning prior to storage.

The new tanks empty onto a Schlagel 55,000-bph enclosed belt conveyor in a below-ground tunnel, which runs to an existing shipping leg.

“So far, everything seems to be working well,” says Flanagan. “The fall harvest will tell us a lot.”

Ed Zdrojewski, editor

From September/October 2022 Grain Journal Issue

Walsh Grain Terminal

Park River, ND • 701-284-6900

Founded: 2011

Storage capacity: 3.1 million bushels

Annual volume: 8 million bushels

Number of employees: 7

Crops handled: Corn, hard red spring wheat, soybeans, canola

Services: Grain handling and merchandising

Key personnel:

Kilen Flanagan, general manager

Myles Flaten, merchandiser

Kyle Omlie, superintendent

Shanna Flanagan, office manager

Michael Bjornson, operations

Dennis Flaten, operations

Dustin Bjornson, operations

Park River Supplier List

Aeration fans • Chief Agri

Bin sweeps • Prairie Land Millwright Inc.

Catwalk • Tom-Cin Metals, Inc.

Cleaner • GSI

Contractor • Kava Construction, Inc.

Control system • Hope Electric

Conveyors • Schlagel Inc.

Conveyor belting • Continental

Grain temperature system • Hope Electric

Level indicators • Hope Electric

Millwright • Kava Construction, Inc.

Motion sensors • Hope Electric

Speed reducers • Dodge Industrial, Inc.

Steel storage • Chief Agri

Steel tank erection • Cross Country Construction

Tower support system • Tom-Cin Metals, Inc.

Walsh Grain Terminal