The new Heritage Cooperative location in Marysville is officially open for business. The $35 million Ag Campus will provide agricultural products and services to Heritage’s members and customers. The campus features dry and liquid fertilizer storage facilities along with a grain elevator.
“The design of this plant was all about moving forward, just like the agriculture industry is doing,” said Eric Parthemore, Heritage Cooperative CEO and President. “Our co-op can trace its roots back to 100 years ago and our mission back then was to provide agricultural products and services to our member farmers in a manner that added value to their own enterprises and with all of the changes with farmers and our industry over the last century, our mission remains the same.”
The new Marysville Heritage Co-op site encompasses 277 acres and was designed using the environmental concept of maximum practical avoidance as the facility was constructed around environmentally sensitive areas, including nine wetlands. The facilities boast computer automation in each building. These technological advancements will be used to maximize operator and facility efficiency.
Heritage Cooperative has seen substantial growth throughout Ohio, even as the farm economy has faltered.
“Our co-op is not owned by a hedge firm or by Wall Street stock holders, it’s really owned by the farmers and members of our company,” Parthemore said. “What we choose to do is to put money back into our communities, maintaining our relevance with farmers, upgrading our assets and maintaining our social responsibilities. By making these investments today, we will be more competitive tomorrow.”
In addition to the modern efficiencies in the buildings, the outside of the Ag Campus includes one of only two CSX loop tracks in Ohio, allowing trains to make an entire circuit to load and unload grain, while maintaining rail traffic flow on the main tracks.
“With this loop, we can actually receive trains from Columbus or from the north, so regardless of where the train originates we can get it on the loop and it can leave either way too,” said Heritage Cooperative’s Marysville Campus Manager Dave McIntosh. “It’s been a process learning how to run these locomotives. You see them on the track all the time, but until you’re actually moving one yourself it’s a whole other ballgame.”
The more than two miles of railroad track will allow for higher train velocity through the facility with greater employee safety.
A research farm is also being developed on Heritage Co-op’s Marysville Ag Campus and will include agronomic and seed test plots, as well as a conservation demonstration and educational site.