Wednesday, 17 Jul 2024
Technology

Full Speed Ahead for River Valley Agronomy Center

Efficiencies highlighted during open house for legislators, leaders

Time is a valuable resource, especially for farmers who need to tend to their crops efficiently. That’s why MFA’s new River Valley Agronomy Center in Higginsville, Mo., was designed with a focus on efficiency. The $6.5 million complex features upgraded facilities and equipment that significantly reduce loading, unloading, and delivery times for fertilizer ingredients and blends.

Faster Operations for Better Productivity

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The River Valley Agronomy Center boasts remarkable advancements that revolutionize the process of handling and distributing fertilizer. For instance, a tractor-trailer of fertilizer can now be off-loaded into the building in just 5 to 7 minutes, compared to the previous 30 minutes. Similarly, a 24-ton tender truck can be filled with a blended fertilizer order in a mere 5 to 7 minutes, a massive improvement from the previous 45 minutes.

MFA Vice President of Agri Services, Jason Weirich, expressed his excitement about the new technology and tools implemented at the center. He believes that these advancements will not only enhance efficiency and employee satisfaction but also provide higher-quality service to their member-owners. Maintaining their core value of customer partnering remains a priority as they leverage the new facilities and assets at their disposal.

State-of-the-Art Facilities for Enhanced Capabilities

The River Valley Agronomy Center hosts the largest bulk fertilizer plant in the MFA system and one of the largest in the state. With a fully automated, declining-weight system, the plant generates highly accurate multi-product blends. The facility has a 14,000-ton capacity, a significant upgrade from the previous plant’s 2,000-ton capacity built in 1977. Notably, the largest bay in the new building can accommodate 3,000 tons of product, 1.5 times the size of the old plant.

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The center serves as a hub for row-crop producers within a 70-mile radius, consolidating smaller MFA fertilizer facilities into one larger and more modern operation. By replacing outdated green fertilizer plants from the 1960s and 1970s, MFA emphasizes stewardship by promoting safety, efficiency, environmental friendliness, and reducing waste and labor.

Recognizing the Impact

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An open house was held at the new agronomy center on June 28 to allow legislators, state agriculture officials, media, and special guests to explore the state-of-the-art facility and learn about its features. The event featured speeches from prominent figures such as Missouri Department of Agriculture Director Chris Chinn and Congressman Mark Alford.

Director Chinn emphasized the positive impact the center would have on the Higginsville community and the entire region. He noted that the dollars invested in the center would circulate and contribute to the local economy, providing opportunities to keep young people in rural areas. He praised MFA for its commitment to supporting Missouri farmers and ranchers well into the future.

Congressman Alford shared his excitement about the transformative potential of technological advancements, including those present at the new agronomy center. He acknowledged the pivotal role that individuals from the heart of America, like those in attendance, play in revitalizing the economy and driving productivity growth.

A Testament to Exceptional Teamwork

MFA Chief Executive Officer Ernie Verslues emphasized that the success of the investment is ultimately a result of the exceptional team in place. Verslues believes that it’s the people who serve the producers in the area that truly make a difference. He commended the outstanding crew at the River Valley Agronomy Center and expressed his pride in the remarkable individuals across Missouri and other territories MFA covers.

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In addition to the fertilizer plant, MFA constructed a new 2,640-square-foot operations center. This center houses offices for MFA key account managers and precision agronomy personnel. The operations center utilizes AgSync, a high-tech electronic logistics system that streamlines scheduling, ordering, and dispatch software for custom application services. AgSync optimizes daily operations and information flow, ensuring seamless coordination from the moment a customer places an order to the completion of the application in the field.

Verslues commented on the facility’s ability to capitalize on technology and equip the MFA team with the tools they need to propel producers in the area forward. With both speed and space, the center enables MFA to act as better stewards by providing the right product, at the right time, in the right place, and in the right amount.

During a tour of the buildings, River Valley Agronomy Center Manager Ryun Morris described AgSync as a “game-changer.” He revealed that approximately 60% to 70% of their customers are enrolled in MFA’s precision agriculture programs. Morris also highlighted the success of the first spring of operation, where employees were able to meet customers’ needs more efficiently, resulting in less work hours during the busy planting season.

“It’s all about being more efficient and maximizing productivity on a larger scale,” Morris explained. “This new facility will help us accomplish more in a day, enabling farmers to achieve greater daily milestones.”

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What makes the River Valley Agronomy Center unique?

The River Valley Agronomy Center stands out due to its advanced facilities and equipment that greatly improve efficiency in handling and distributing fertilizer. With impressive time savings in loading, unloading, and delivery, the center offers faster operations that benefit both the farmers and MFA.

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Q: How does the new center contribute to environmental stewardship?

By consolidating smaller MFA fertilizer facilities into a larger and more modern operation, the River Valley Agronomy Center promotes environmental stewardship. Outdated green fertilizer plants from the 1960s and 1970s are being replaced, allowing MFA to enhance safety, reduce waste and labor, and create a more environmentally friendly process.

Q: What technological advancements were implemented in the new agronomy center?

The new agronomy center utilizes a fully automated, declining-weight system that generates accurate multi-product blends. Additionally, the center benefits from AgSync, a high-tech electronic logistics system that streamlines operations and information flow, ensuring seamless coordination from order placement to application completion.

Conclusion

The River Valley Agronomy Center sets a new standard for efficiency and productivity in the field of agriculture. With state-of-the-art facilities and cutting-edge technology, MFA is revolutionizing the process of handling fertilizer, reducing time and effort for farmers. By consolidating operations and focusing on environmental stewardship, MFA demonstrates its commitment to serving farmers and ranchers in Missouri and beyond.

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