By Collin Gallant
Alberta Newspaper Group
Federated Co-op will build a $42-million fertilizer mixing facility in Grassy Lake to service the Highway 3 and Alberta marketplaces, the company announced on Tuesday.
Construction will begin this spring on the rail-serviced location that could be in full operation in the summer of 2020.
It will blend and distribute “a full suite” of crop nutrition products to Co-op Agro Centres in central and southern Alberta, including those operated in the region under the banner of South Country Co-op.
“This facility supports local co-ops and is the next step on our journey to grow within the crop inputs business,” said Patrick Bergermann, FCL’s associate vice-president of Ag and Home. “This is a long-term investment back into Western Canada that will help us better serve and meet the needs of local co-ops along with their members and customers.”
The facility is a project of Federated Co-op, which is the umbrella co-op of regional co-operative retailers in Western Canada. Those take off production and, based on sales, are paid dividends that figure into individual members patronage refunds.
South Country Co-op, which was created several years ago when Medicine Hat and Vauxhall Co-ops merged, holds the trading region that stretches across southern Alberta, excluding Calgary.
Local officials have stressed in recent years the potential of capturing more of the agriculture supply marketplace.
In 2017, South Country purchased Ag plus Supply in Foremost to operate as its 10th agro branch. Other outlets are situated in Oyen, Brooks, the Hat, High River and Claresholm.
The Grassy Lake location is halfway between Medicine Hat and Lethbridge.
The facility will be the third of its kind in the FCL system, joining similar facilities built in 2017 in Brandon and Hanley, Sask., near Saskatoon.
A loop-track on site will be capable of accommodating 110 train cars. It will also have a storage capacity of 34,400 tonnes with a loading system capable of filling a super-B transport truck in six minutes, according to a release.