By Trevor Busch
Alta. Newspaper Group
Standing above the surrounding fields in southern Alberta, a new Co-op Fertilizer Terminal provides key infrastructure to support the needs of Western-Canadian farmers.
Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL) invested $42.8 million in a new state-of-the-art terminal near Grassy Lake, Alta. The terminal warehouses, blends and distributes a full suite of crop nutrition products including liquid micronutrients and nitrogen stabilizers.
“We made this investment understanding the important role the fertilizer terminal will play in serving local co-ops and helping them meet the needs of their members and customers,” said Ron Healey, FCL’s Vice-President of Ag and Consumer Business.
“Having a fertilizer terminal in Alberta improves Co-op’s ability to efficiently and effectively deliver crop nutrition products to local farmers in a timely matter, which is critical during the growing season.”
The Co-operative Retailing System, which includes FCL and more than 160 independent local co-operatives across Western Canada, is unique in its ability to provide producers with everything they need – including fuel, animal feed, crop inputs, grain handling equipment and more ? in a single stop.
The new fertilizer terminal in Grassy Lake has a storage capacity of 34,400 metric tonnes. The three Co-op Fertilizer Terminals – facilities in Hanley, Sask., and Brandon, Man., were opened in 2017 – have a combined storage capacity of 106,900 metric tonnes.
While all three terminals have rail access, the Grassy Lake location was built with a loop track that can accommodate up to 110 railcars. This is an essential feature that allows Co-op to receive product from domestic and international suppliers, which is particularly important as domestic production of phosphate ended last year.
•Construction of the facility was announced in February 2019 and was completed in June 2020, when it began receiving product.
•The terminal currently has five full-time employees.
•Co-op terminals can load a super B trailer in six minutes and dispense up to 400 metric tonnes of straight fertilizer in an hour.
•The terminal offers warehouse storage for liquid micronutrients and nitrogen stabilizers, this ensures farmers have access to the latest in fertilizer technology.
•Seven product bays allow for an enhanced product offering and additional custom-blending capabilities.
•More than 146 Co-op Agro Centres across Western Canada – including 35 in Alberta – currently provide agricultural producers with important crop supplies, including crop protection products and seed.
“Fertilizer is part of a comprehensive offering of products and services that we’re able to deliver to our farm customers across southern Alberta,” said Paul Haynes, CEO of South Country Co-op. “By working with FCL and other local Co-ops like ours, this new terminal helps us to remain competitive, provide timely deliveries and be trusted partners and advisors, working together to support the success of our customers’ operations.”
Nearly 700 jobs directly supported the construction of the terminal with 104 people on site during the height of construction in April 2020. There were no lost-time injuries throughout the construction phase.