Construction on a new bulk dry fertilizer plant is currently underway at the Gering branch of WESTCO, the Western Cooperative Company.
Branch manager David Shields said building a new plant would be more cost effective than upgrading their current facility on 10th Street just north of the railroad tracks.
“We’re still using the old Blue J Feeds facility that’s at least 50 years old,” Shields said. “It came down to either dumping a lot of money into the old one or building new. It was always our long term plan to build a plant closer to our offices.”
Shields added that having the plant north of the tracks often caused delays, especially since the Union Pacific is running more and more train traffic through Gering. Plus, time driving from one location to another became burdensome.
WESTCO’s new 6,000 ton capacity plant is under construction immediately east of the branch office at 1290 Rundell Road. Anhydrous ammonia and liquid are already being produced at the Rundell Road facility since WESTCO purchased the John R. Jirdon Company five years ago. The addition of the dry bulk plant would consolidate all their products in one plant. Shields said the dry fertilizer will strictly be sold as bulk.
Paul Reed Construction is building the plant. “Paul also did the designing,” Shields said. “We wanted to keep things local because that’s important to us.”
The new plant is expected to be open in the spring of 2011. “The new plant will help increase efficiency for our customers,” Shields said. “We’ll be able to load and unload product a lot faster. That will help the timeliness of our deliveries.”