Gavilon wants to expand grain operation

CNJ staff

The new owner of a grain elevator located west of Clovis hopes to distribute corn residuals from ethanol production and increase the volume of grain handled at the site.

Omaha, Neb.-based Gavilon Group, which took over the Peavey Grain Elevator on U.S. Highway 60/84 this spring, will need approval from the state Environment Department to make the changes.

The corn residual comes from ethanol plants in the Midwest and will be sold as cattle feed to area dairies, according to Gavilon spokeswoman Deb Ahl. She said the ethanol byproduct is presently being received at the site and transported within a 50-mile radius of Clovis.

Gavilon, formerly known as the Con Agra Trade Group, is permitted to distribute the ethanol byproduct until the environment department determines if a new permit is needed after receiving verified emission data on the corn residuals from the company, according to Air Quality Permit Bureau Engineer Coleman Smith.

As part of the process, Gavilon would also be required to send letters to residents living near the facility.

Gavilon applied to modify the existing air quality permit for the grain elevator in August, bit it didn’t include the corn residual emissions data.

“If (the emissions) are different from the material they’re already receiving, then they need to be included in the permit,” he said.

Smith said the state agency hasn’t had to regulate corn residuals from ethanol production before.

“That type of emission factor for corn residuals is not so easy to find because corn residuals have only recently started to be handled in large quantities,” he said.

Smith said the company does not have deadline to submit the information.

Also included in the original permit revision is a request to increase the daily volume of grain received from 440,000 bushels a day to 475,000 bushels a day.

Smith said Clovis residents have contacted him with concerns that the changes to the grain elevator would degrade the air quality in the area.

Clovis resident Frank Dottle, who lives near the grain elevator said he would consider moving if the air quality declines.

Smith said the department may conduct a public hearing regarding the permit depending if local concerns arise.

Con Agra Foods sold what was then the Con Agra Trade Group to Ospraie in June for $2.8 billion. Ospraie renamed the company Gavilon.

A Con Agra plan to build a 108-million-gallon a day ethanol plant at the Peavey site met with heavy local opposition. ConAgra canceled its plans for the plant in January, citing a poor market.