As construction crews in the background pour concrete for the walls of a 15,500-ton dry fertilizer storage building, Jake Jacobs, New Century FS general manager, describes the inner-workings of the new Vinton, Iowa, facility. Growmark, the parent company of New Century, hosted a media tour of the new facility.
As construction crews in the background pour concrete for the walls of a 15,500-ton dry fertilizer storage building, Jake Jacobs, New Century FS general manager, describes the inner-workings of the new Vinton, Iowa, facility. Growmark, the parent company of New Century, hosted a media tour of the new facility.
VINTON, Iowa — With aging structures and increasing customer needs, New Century FS took a major leap forward in 2012 with the construction of a new facility to serve east-central Iowa.

The agronomy and propane service center located on 18 acres replaces the former Vinton facility and also serves farmers in the Van Horne, Garrison, LaPorte City, Traer and Toledo areas.

Construction began in March and wrapped up by year’s end.

Jake Jacobs, New Century FS general manager, said during a recent media tour that the idea of a new state-of-the-art facility began about two to three years ago.

“Our business had been growing quite rapidly in Vinton County. It had really mushroomed and really taken off, and the old facilities were very outdated. They were very small, and some of them were built back in the 1950s,” he said.

“We had one facility that holds about 800 tons of fertilizer, but I could probably only fill it half full because the walls were not in very good shape. So we really needed something.

“We couldn’t keep product in our sheds. With the size of the customers we have today and the size of the equipment we spread with, we were moving it out faster than we could bring it in.

“We were also struggling to get product. Most of our product comes from the river, so we were really struggling to get it from there to here during the harvest time.

“A lot of the grain trucks could make more money hauling the grain during harvest time, so they were busy doing that instead of hauling product, and we were really struggling to get product from there to here.”

Members of the New Century FS board met with representatives from its parent company, Growmark, and began developing ways to correct the situation.

“If we were going to continue to grow or even maintain, we were going to have to do something. Out of those discussions, the idea of this facility was born,” Jacobs said.

“From there, we met with the engineers to get a design in place, get a cost estimate and put a whole package together of the project for our local board and the Growmark board and get that kicked off.”

A 15,500-ton capacity dry plant food building was constructed, capable of storing seven different products, which can take deliveries from both truck and rail. It has a 20-railcar capacity for unloading products.

The facility features a full-service drive-through UAN building and increased anhydrous ammonia storage capacity capable of storing 30,000 gallons of LP and 60,000 gallons of anhydrous ammonia.

A warehouse stores crop protection products and seed. The office building includes a large room that serves as a training center and conference room.

“This is a great addition. We’ll do a lot of employee training here,” Jacobs said.

“New Century has about 125 fulltime employees, and we can do a lot of training here now where in the past we’ve had to rent rooms for training.

“This new facility will allow New Century FS to continue to serve our existing farmer customers more efficiently. We are also looking to future growth and will increase our customer service from this location.

“Farmers can count on product supply and a team of experts who will be able to meet their needs.”

Gary Schoening is Vinton plant manager, and Dan Sears, New Century operations manager, served as the facility project manager. New Century FS, a division of Growmark, is a full-service agronomy, energy and grain cooperative serving customers in Benton, Blackhawk, Iowa, Jasper, Marshall, Polk, Poweshiek, Story and Tama counties.