Farmers find producer car site makes life easier

Rosalind Grain has shipped 382 cars of grain since it opened in February, which is music to its 11 owners’ ears

ROSALIND, Alta. — Matt Enright recently hauled 11,000 bushels of barley straight off the combine to the railway with no waiting in long lines to unload.

He weighed his truck at the community weigh scale, unloaded the barley at Rosalind Grain Ltd., a producer car loading facility, and then drove back to the field to combine another load.

The next day, the barley was loaded into three rail cars for Ritchie-Smith Feeds in southern British Columbia.

Enright is one of 11 owners of Rosalind Grain Ltd., one of six producer car loading facilities on the Battle River Railway.

Farmers have shipped 382 cars of grain out of the Rosalind facility since it opened in the beginning of February. The old Alberta Wheat Pool elevator at Rosalind used to ship about 300 cars during the entire year.

Building the $2.1 million loading facility was a big decision for the local farmers, who for years dragged their augers to town, waited for the train to spot the cars and loaded directly into them.

“Depending on the train was always the issue and it deterred everyone from hauling,” said Kevin Davis, a local farmer and one of the facility owners.

Few farmers wanted to stop their combines during harvest or haul the auger to town in -40 C weather when the cars were spotted in winter.

A core group of farmers continued to load producer cars and over the years added hopper bins to the rail siding to make loading easier. They also custom loaded cars for farmers.

Last year, the farmers took the next step to build a permanent facility on the Battle River Railway siding at Rosalind. The original plan was for four farmers to build a facility that could hold six grain cars worth of grain.

“We were kind of shocked at the initial cost,” said Ward Kvemshagen, one of the owners.

They put out the word that they were looking for more farmers to join them and build a larger facility.

“If we consolidate and work together, there is a good business opportunity,” said Kvemshagen.

Their 22,000 bushel facility holds enough grain to load 22 grain cars, and they aim to load 20 to 30 grain cars a week.

“You get the advantage of producer cars with the convenience of not having to be there to load the cars,” said Kvemshagen.

The facility custom also loads producer cars for 30 other farmers.

The Rosalind facility is only a storage and loading facility. All the grain coming to the facility has been previously graded and sampled and has a contract for sale. Additional samples of grain are taken during unloading as an additional check for farmers.

Battle River Railway, the community owned short-line railway from Alliance to Camrose in central Alberta, hauled 2,200 grain cars last year, picking cars up at Heisler, Alliance, Forestburg, Galahad, Kelsey and Rosalind.

This year it wants to haul 2,400 car loads of grain, or eight million bu.

“They want us to succeed and we want them to succeed,” said Adam Enright.

Davis estimated that the farmers receive an extra 50 cents a bushel by shipping grain in producer cars, which is equivalent to $4 million staying in the Rosalind community.

Contact mary.macarthur@producer.com

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