Tim and I bought the Kloten Elevator in 2017. A little comedy was involved, but for the most part this was a serious investment into the future of our operation. In late spring, Tim asked if I'd like to go look at the Kloten Elevator. I basically said "Yes" just to be nice. I didn't think that we needed a dilapidated grain storage facility at our disposal. After our little tour on that Friday afternoon, I knew we needed to have it.
On the west side of the location is a flat storage building, then in the middle are the three grain elevators, and on the east side is the sunflower plant (pictured above). The flat storage building would be handy to store machinery in over the winter. The elevators likely wouldn't get much use in 2017. But the sunflower plant would be used for drying and storing corn. We put in a couple bids and we got it. Now to work!
We started cleaning up the lot right away. Mowing, shoveling, picking weeds, etc. We didn't focus much on the elevators because our priority was the sunflower plant. Chase, Tim, Parker, and Levi cleaned up bucket load after bucket load of old and rotten grain from underneath the three bins. Fortunately, I wasn't involved in that project because I heard the smell was about as bad as it could get.
We also cleaned the inside of the bins. Again, many loader bucket loads of old grain had to be shoveled out. Tim also cleaned the conveyor that we dumped the truck into. Several big jobs that were taking time. And remember, corn harvest is coming quickly!
Not all of the repairs were mechanical either. With the grain dryer and the two grain legs as part of the system, there was a big electrical control panel that was used to control the flow of grain through the system. Unfortunately, that didn't exactly work either. It was time to start pushing some buttons.
But thankfully, we had help. Larry Ohnstad and Ohnstad Electric from Petersburg were a big help with the dryer control panel and the main electrical control panel. Elijah Bjorlie from Tolna was a big help with the legs. Terry Huso from McVille helped with the dryer. Lon Zellmer from Aneta helped with the dryer. Troy Myron from Larimore helped with dryer. And probably my biggest support on the dryer was Ken Donsbach from Bloomington, IL. Ken was a service tech on the Meyer-Morton dryer for many years before starting his own company. He didn't have to fly up here, but I probably called him at least 100 times when we were having trouble getting the dryer to fire up. We finally got it. Notice the lights are lit up on the below picture!
Thankfully, we got the dryer and legs running in late October. We had already been drying some corn at our site back on the farm so adding this dryer helped by increasing our capacity. For the most part, things ran pretty well. We have some work to do next spring and summer on the elevator to get that ready to receive some grain. But we had great use of the dryer in 2017 and that made a big difference on our farm.
Hopefully this is something that Herlof will get the hang of after a few more years!
I have to thank all of our employees for working so hard to get the Kloten facility ready to handle wet corn this fall. It wasn't fun and it wasn't clean. But you all did a great job in making this work. And it is my goal that we can bring more of this elevator back to life this coming year. Thanks to everyone.