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Source: Northern Partners Cooperative news release

Northern Partners Cooperative has opened an additional location in northern Illinois with advanced fertilizer handling equipment to boost capacity and efficiency. The project includes a river terminal operated in a partnership with CHS, Inc.

The new, state-of-the-art operation, located in Peru, is Northern Partners' sixth agronomy location. Dry fertilizer operations that were previously conducted at three of NPC's other locations and relied on outdated equipment are now consolidated in Peru at Market Street Terminal. In addition, CHS, Inc. will market fertilizer to wholesale customers from this location.

Kevin Nelson, Director of Communications for Northern Partners, said the new facility offers many key benefits for NPC and its farmer owners. These include expanded storage capacity (27,000 tons for inbound fertilizer), increased speed of the fertilizer blending process and managing a single blending system instead of multiple ones at different locations. Assurance of a reliable supply brings value to the co-op's member owners, and higher efficiency also translates into improved customer service, he said.

Full-site material handling equipment from GSI's InterSystems brand supports the co-op's fertilizer operations. A leg and conveying system receives incoming product by barge at the rate of 400 tons per hour or by truck at 150 tons per hour. A tripper conveyor uses a remote-operated laser guidance system to distribute fertilizer into selected storage bins. Fertilizer then goes through a conditioning process to remove any lumps or other irregularities, assuring a smooth product flow.

The system also includes a 250-ton capacity blending tower and high-speed output and loading of either straight fertilizer products or customized blends. The high-speed process means NPC's spreaders won't have to wait for loads to arrive from the terminal and will be able to keep moving at top efficiency throughout the work day.

Nate Reznechek, GSI's crop nutrient equipment sales manager, noted that the blend tower at Northern Partners' Market Street Terminal site is new technology and a first of its kind in that it includes two towers (retail and wholesale) combined into one single tower. "This technology saves several hundreds of thousands of dollars in capital expenses, without sacrificing throughput speeds or blend quality, while servicing two load-out lanes simultaneously," he explained. "It's a win-win for the growers, Northern Partners and CHS. We expect to see additional customers adopting this new technology as the industry strives to provide more service to their customers on tighter budgets."

Nelson said the new facility not only means increased efficiency, but also the opportunity to expand Northern Partners' customer base. "This facility gives us the ability to serve a new segment of the market, with services that weren't in our toolbox previously," he explained. "We have improved our access to the markets around us."

Another major advantage is being able to receive incoming fertilizer products by barge at the Peru site right on the Illinois River. "We no longer have to go to a different terminal to pick up and haul fertilizer back to our facilities," he said. "We also benefit from better economies of scale by being able to receive larger raw material shipments by barge."

The GSI crop nutrient portfolio now also includes Willmar spreaders and tenders.

For additional information, visit Northern Partners Cooperative and GSI InterSystems.

About GSI
GSI (Grain Systems Inc.), a global brand of AGCO (NYSE: AGCO), is a global leader and manufacturer of grain bins and the most technologically advanced grain dryers in the industry. In addition, GSI offers crop nutrient equipment, structures and a large selection of material handling systems, including bucket elevators and conveyors, grain bin sweeps and chain loop systems. GSI is also a full-line manufacturer of protein production systems for swine and poultry operations. With more than 40 years of industry expertise, GSI is your proven and dependable source for forward-thinking grain and protein agribusiness solutions.

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