Genesis pushes forward with fertilizer super centre at Belle Plaine, Sask.

Saskatchewan-based Genesis Grain and Fertilizer plans to spend $24 million on a fertilizer storage, blending and distribution super centre at Belle Plaine, Sask., the first of what it hopes will be a western network.

Genesis Belle Plaine, west of Regina, will boast a 52,000 tonne fertilizer storage capacity. It will be the first component in what Genesis officials described as a prairie-wide network with three in Saskatchewan, three in Alberta and one in Manitoba.

Officials expect the plant to handle 150,000 tonnes of product a year, including urea, phosphate, micro-nutrients, sulfur and potash.

“We’ve literally put all of the bells and whistles into this site,” said Terry Drabiuk, vice-president of business development with Genesis.

“It’s got six covered bays — four for trucks and two for rail — and all of the bays are capable of loading and unloading.”

Drabiuk said most product distribution will move by truck within a 300-kilometre radius but it can also ship by rail.

Construction is expected to be complete late this year in time to distribute crop nutrients for 2018 plantings, Drabiuk said.

It will be able to process micro-nutrients and mix bulk fertilizers. It will feature advanced high throughput, in-load and out-load equipment and automated handling systems.

Stueve Canada Ltd. will lead the contracting oversight. It is based in Iowa but has operations in Canada. It plans to use primarily Canadian labour and contractors.

Other sites for the Genesis network are being considered.

“We’ve started short-listing sites … and we’re hoping to select them some time this year, maybe not all seven but at least one or two.”

Drabiuk said all the super centres will be designed to distribute fertilizer within a 200 or 300 km radius.

Financing for the Belle Plaine project will come from a combination of sources, including farmer investors.

Drabiuk said Farmers of North America and AgraCity, a subsidiary of FNA, are promoters and investors. FNA is the registered business name of Farms and Families of North America.

Other investment capital will be furnished by farmers who will earn returns based on profits generated through the facility, he said.

“It’s based on earnings,” Drabiuk said, describing how farmers would see a return on investment. “Right now it’s a limited partnership which means that they (farmers) own units, but if we convert that partnership to a corporation, then they will get shares (in the corporation).”

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