Central Washington Corn Processors is expanding its massive north Richland grain shed to better accommodate a key commodity used for livestock feed by the region’s dairies, feedlots and other operations – soy meal.

The $4.3 million project will extend the CWCP “flat house” to 916 feet long, about a third longer than the original 616 feet. At 155 feet wide, the extension will boost the its footprint to nearly 142,000 square feet.

“This makes us more efficient,” said Dennis Kyllo, one of CWCP’s five principal owners.

CWCP receives shipments of commodities such as corn, canola, dried distillers’ grain, whole cotton seed and soy meal by rail and stores it in the massive flat house. It dispatches loads to customers in Eastern Washington, northern Oregon and beyond.

The extra room accommodates the soy meal that arrives from the Midwest in smaller batches – two to three rail cars a day. It lacked room to store it inside, so the soy was transferred to trucks and sent to customers, creating challenges around timing deliveries.

On-site storage gives it the option to keep it covered along with the other feed materials that come in by train.

CWCP’s Richland operation opened in late 2016 after Kyllo and his partners invested $7.9 million to build the rail side facility at Horn Rapids Industrial Park, off Logston Boulevard.

It is served by an 8,600-foot rail loop used by both BNSF Railway and Union Pacific Railroad. The city-owned rail connects to the Port of Benton line and from there to the Class A tracks that crisscross the nation. Horn Rapids is one of the few spots in the U.S. served by two Class A rail lines.

That’s why the owners chose to build here, Kyllo said.

“It’s very important to the local feed industry, more so than they realize,” he said.

The city is pleased to see CWCP succeeding and expanding, said Kerwin Jensen, director of community development. Receiving commodities by rail removes trucks from city streets. And CWCP’s success inspires others.

“It’s good for us out there in the industrial district. We’ve got more people looking at similar projects because of what Central Washington Processors has done,” he said.

BNSF and UP trains arrive at the CWCP loop and are turned over to the company’s small local crew for unloading. The processing facility can handle about 4,000 rail cars annually. It takes minutes to unload a hopper car filled with corn.

CWCP receives the ingredients that go into animal feed, but it does not blend it. Dairies, feedlots and others blend their feed to suit the needs of their operations.

“Fully loaded cars come to us, we unload and then send to users,” Kyllo said.

The Richland grain facility is the reverse of a grain elevator. Elevators combine grain from individual producers for shipment to central locations. CWCP receives shipments, breaks it down and dispatches it to the final destination.

Industrial Systems & Fabrication of Spokane is the contractor for the expansion. Footings were poured in late August. The addition should be complete by the end of the year, Kyllo said.