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Barr-Ag adding corn silage to operations

A Mountain View County-based exporter of hay and grains has received approval to add to its operations.
The county’s municipal planning commission recently approved a development permit with conditions for Barr-Ag to expand its drying system.
The company, located northeast of Olds adjacent to Highway 2, is now adding corn silage to the products it markets and sells overseas.
“We sometimes need to dry the alflafa and timothy from our farm in our existing dryer and now we would like to dry the silage we will be producing in a new dryer,” the company’s application states.
Barr-Ag and previous companies have been operating a hay and grain farming and processing operation on the site for the past 20 years.
A condition on the original development permit given for the agricultural processing and storage facility operation in 1998 requires a new development permit for any expansion of the business.
Along with compressing hay and straw for export, Barr Ag also has storage equipment for the containerization of grains and pulse crops for export.
On Thursday, Aug. 15, the county’s municipal planning commission approved a drying system expansion.
The company applied for the addition of a 500 foot by 200 foot silage pit and two canvas storage tents to house new rotating drums for drying silage on the 40-acre property, said Kylan Neff, a county development officer.
In addition to the dryer, a hay baler will also be used on the premises and an office trailer moved, she added.
Before the commission approved the application, commission member Dwayne Fulton asked Barr-Ag owner Barry Schmitt about the potential for leakage from the proposed silage pit — the location for which had already been stripped of topsoil by the time the application was heard by the commission.
Schmitt said the pit will be sloped in such a way that if there was any leakage it will be contained on the property.
The expansion is expected to generate employment of nine additional employees — which may vary seasonally — on top of the 25 full-timers already employed.
Business hours will also vary depending on activity throughout the year, said the county development officer.
“At startup, the hours of operation will be eight to 10 hours per day, then will be 10 to 24 hours per day once fully operational. The business will be most active throughout the months of November to April but will still be operating through the summer,” said Neff.
The expansion is also expected to add additional traffic, with the expected addition of five more vehicles to haul the company’s products for shipment, she said.
It shouldn’t be a concern, she added, as loads are hauled south on Rge. Rd. 10A to Highway 27.
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