Originally published in the 8/25/17 print edition of Yellowstone County News.
LOCKWOOD — The economics of unit trains and improving technology are making possible the building of a new mega fertilizer plant by Town & Country Supply Association near Lockwood.
Construction began in February and is expected to be completed in December. It will be operational just in time to serve the needs of farmers for the 2018 growing season. The $12.5 million facility — $2 million of which is the cost of building a rail spur — has been a long-term goal of the cooperative.
Town & Country Supply Association is a cooperative that supplies farmers and ranchers in south-central Montana and northern Wyoming with feed, fuel, fertilizer and a variety of supplies. It also has convenience and ranch stores in Laurel, Billings, Bridger and Hardin.
The mega plant will allow Town & Country to dramatically increase production, implement new technology and equipment that reduce blending times, centralize dispatching of deliveries, expand their market opportunities, and buy materials in greater quantities – all of which, “We hope long-term gives customers a better price while we get enough to pay for the new facility,” explained Wes Burley, Town & Country’s general manager.
Building the railroad spur allows Town & Country to purchase the materials used in making fertilizer by the train load, which is not only less expensive, but delivery is more dependable, said Burley, who strongly commended the cooperation and commitment they received from Montana RailLink in the process of building the rail spur.