Business & economy

Grain milling operation set to open in Nyssa by August, providing cattle feed

NYSSA – A multimillion-dollar grain milling operation is set to begin operation in Nyssa in August with the capacity to process 1,200 tons of product a day.

The wheat and corn flake mill is a joint venture between Boise’s Agri Beef Company, Johnson Farms in Parma and John Hepton, a Treasure Valley cattle feed lot owner and an employee of a subsidiary of Agri Beef Company. The mill will make corn and wheat flakes for feed for cattle at six feedlots scattered across the Treasure Valley in Idaho and Oregon.

“It is exciting. It is a project that is fantastic for Nyssa and the farmers around here,” said Tim Brady, Agri Beef Company director of corporate risk management.

Brady said Johnson Farms, Hepton and Agri Beef Company have invested “tens of millions” of dollars in the Nyssa operation.

“To have a state-of-the-art grain milling facility that produces the quantity we are producing, using the technology we have, from a regional perspective it is pretty impressive,” said Brady.

Work is nearly complete on a new wheat and corn flake mill in Nyssa. (PAT CALDWELL/The Enterprise)

Agri Beef began construction in March and will use 15 large silos to store corn and wheat delivered by area producers.

Once the wheat and corn are delivered it is transformed through a water and steam soaking process to soften the corn and wheat to create flakes. Those flakes are then trucked to feedlots where they are used to boost the weight of cattle.

Agri Beef bought the Nyssa facility in 2018 at a bankruptcy auction in the wake of the collapse of Farmers Grain, a grain broker and processor. Agri Beef operates similar facilities in Weiser and Nampa. With the purchase, the company acquired 11 silos, a shop and office.

The company subsequently added three large silos with a fourth under construction now.

The process starts when trucks loaded with wheat or corn arrive and are weighed. Samples are tested for moisture and bushel weight. The grains are then stored in the silos.

For processing, the grains are pushed through conveyor tubes to a flake building. There, the corn or wheat moves slowly through a large steam chest where it is tested for temperature. When the product reaches a specific temperature it then moves through driers and rollers that flatten the kernels. The finished product then will be shipped by truck to the feedlots.

The mill is state-of-the-art, Brady said.

“In theory, you can start this operation with a cell phone. We won’t be doing that. We will have folks here all the time,” he said.

Once the mill is fully operational, Brady said it will employ five to 10 people.

Brady said more than 100 wheat and corn producers across the Treasure Valley will supply the plant. The plant ties together harvesting, production and delivery.

“Being integrated is a competitive advantage for us,” said Brady.

The grain milling operation allows Agri Beef to provide a steadier supply of cattle feed to its lots, said Brady.

“We are processing the grain on our own to feed directly to our own cattle and don’t have a processor in the middle,” said Brady.

The other advantage, said Brady, is the specifications for the flakes make them more digestiable by cattle.

That translates into more pounds per cow.

Agri Beef wants to cultivate relationships with area farmers, said Drew Laan, a procurement representative for Agri Beef.
“We want to buy local first,” he said.

Jim Maret, Nyssa city manager, said the project will be a boost for Nyssa.

“It will bring jobs and tax income to the city,” he said.

News tip? Contact reporter Pat Caldwell at [email protected]

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