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The Conference Room

In Unpredictable Times, Planning for Expansion

Planning is a challenge when you are up against Mother Nature. In Maple Park, Illinois, Elburn Cooperative Regional Manager Howard Laube tells FBN’s Jeff Flock in a Conference Room interview that the storage facility has sought to expand smartly over the years.

With that said, Laube stresses the importance of not growing too quickly. Recently, the cooperative built a storage bin with a 105-foot diameter. But even with the new bin, Laube says the cooperative may need to sell excess grain it’s unable to store – and that’s O.K.

“We’ll be piling grain outside on flat surfaces with tarps over the. It’s hard to plan for that bumper crop every year when you do have drought years,” says Laube.

Laube is hopeful that there won’t be too much extra corn, though.

“It’s going to be close … The analysts that are looking at those numbers think we’ll probably have a little more corn than we can hold in storage,” says Laube. “We’ve made plans with our producers. We think we can hold the crop that our producers are going to grow, but we know we’re going to be full when we get there.”

And while the weather has obviously been favorable to crops like corn and soybeans, Laube says technology has also benefited farmers’ production – making it important to keep expansion plans on the table.

“[G]rain production continues to increase in North America, as our farmers deploy more technology every year to increase our production. So as a rule we are looking to expand our grain handling operation every year and this year we’ll test our capacity,” says Laube.

Follow Gabrielle Karol on Twitter @GabrielleKarol