Scoular buys grain elevator in Manitoba’s Interlake

(Photo courtesy Tri-Field Farms via Facebook, used by permission)

U.S. grain company The Scoular Co. is expanding its stake in the Prairie grain handling market by buying a small former Agricore elevator in Manitoba’s Interlake region.

The company on Thursday announced its “recent purchase” of the Tri-Field Farms elevator at Netley, about 25 km north of Selkirk at the south end of Lake Winnipeg.

Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed in the company’s release and a Scoular spokesperson in Omaha wasn’t immediately available for comment Thursday afternoon.

The elevator was built by Manitoba Pool Elevators, which later merged with Alberta Pool into Agricore.

Agricore in turn sold the Netley site in 2000, ahead of its merger with UGG in 2001 as Agricore United. At the time of its sale, the elevator had 2,040 tonnes of grain storage capacity and has had bin space added since then.

Its rail access comes via the Lake Line Railroad, a 50-km farmer-owned shortline of former Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) track running from Gimli south through Netley to Selkirk, where it connects with CP’s track running south to the main line at Winnipeg.

Jeff Vipond, Scoular’s senior Canadian marketing manager in Calgary, said the company is “no stranger to the Netley area” as its Calgary commodity merchandisers have “worked closely” with Tri-Field owner Randy Penner for the past three years.

Scoular, since then, has made “significant investments in the facility to improve the marketability of locally produced grains and oilseeds,” the company said in its release.

Penner and Tri-Field staff will continue to work at the facility as Scoular employees, the company said.

Local growers, Scoular said, will “continue to work with local staff to market their rye, wheat, soybeans, corn and special crops, while gaining the advantage of access to Scoular’s expansive commodity marketing network.”

Privately-held Scoular’s Prairie operations expanded significantly last year when it bought the special crops division of Winnipeg commodity firm Legumex Walker.

“Scoular’s commodity marketing expertise, combined with its people’s relationships with distillers, flour millers, exporters, and railroads, brings value to this operation and the local growers it serves,” Penner said in the same release.

Scoular, Vipond said, has been “actively seeking opportunities to invest in assets and to expand our network in Canada to better serve our customers. We’re impressed with the operation that Randy has established and we’re looking forward to expanding on what he started.” — Network

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