The manager of the Berthold Farmers Elevator said he expects the business to flourish because of deals made with companies in the oil industry.
Dan DeRouchey said he was worried a year ago that he might not be able to keep all his employees because wet weather had prevented farmers from planting crops. Because of deals with two companies operating in North Dakota's oil patch, the grain elevator is poised to nearly double its revenue and add up to 40 workers, he told the Grand Forks Herald (http://bit.ly/OAAmx0 ).
DoRouchey said the most significant collaboration is with Enbridge Pipelines, which is building a facility to load oil onto railroad cars. Elevator employees will operate the facility.
"It's going to be a big deal for us," said DeRouchey, who manages elevators in Berthold and Carpio, which are about 25 miles northwest of Minot.
The elevator also is working with another oilfield company to take sand from railcars and load it onto trucks that haul it to the oil patch for use on drilling rigs. The elevator charges $400 a car for track space, and DeRouchey estimates the elevator sees 150 railroad cars of sand or other material a month.
Meanwhile, Enbridge has started construction of the project that will expand its capacity for loading oil onto railcars. North Dakota officials have said about one-quarter of the state's oil exports are shipped by rail because pipelines cannot handle it all.
Starting in September, Enbridge will load about 100,000 barrels of oil a week from trucks to railcars, said Matt Faith, an Enbridge manager.
"The demand is insatiable," Faith said.
DeRouchey said the extra revenue from the oil-loading operation will help farmers by providing dividends and upgraded elevator facilities.
"Our mission is to take care of the farmer," DeRouchey said.