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Progress in the country

Matt Hinshaw, left, and Verl Prather of Prairie Central Co-op stand at the brand new facility near Chenoa / CIFN photo.

CHENOA – A new state-of-the-art country grain elevator has emerged above the corn and soybean fields in northern McLean County.

An open house and dedication ceremony for the new Prairie Central Cooperative elevator west of Chenoa was held Tuesday. The idea for the facility is years, if not decades, old as the co-op board of directors and patrons saw a need for additional storage capacity.

“It has multiple grain bins with a total storage capacity of about 2.6 million bushels,” explained Matt Hinshaw, capital projects manager for Prairie Central Cooperative. “Along with that, we’ve designed three receiving pits – they’re larger pits so a semi doesn’t have to move twice.”

The project was approved two years ago and the construction phase has been underway for about a year and a half. Hinshaw said the co-op tried to make the elevator a destination where local farmers could dump grain as fast as possible to get back to the field in a timely manner. Efficiency is a big part of the design meaning it is possible to work with as few operators as possible to manage and store grain.

With plenty of rail and truck loading capacity, farmers have multiple destinations where their grain will end up. According to Hinshaw, patrons are the first priority and the facility is only accepting corn for now. Opening a facility in the middle of a field allows plenty of room to grow in the future.

“Obviously, when you want to build a lot of grain bins, it takes up space and a lot of the facilities that were built in the middle of towns in the 50s, 60s and 70s are running out of room,” Hinshaw added.

The location manager is Verl Prather and GROWMARK has served as the project general contractor, helping with the design and lining up sub-contractors. More on Prairie Central Cooperative can be found at

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