South Dakota Soybean Farmers Follow Their Soybeans to Washington State

March 19, 2017

In its sixth year, the See for Yourself experience allows South Dakota soybean farmers the opportunity to see firsthand how their soybean checkoff works for them. With support from the South Dakota Soybean Research & Promotion Council, soybean farmers traveled to Washington State to tour port facilities and learn about the importance of international markets in the soybean industry.

The group’s first stop was TEMCO, located at the Port of Tacoma. Known as the “Gateway for Grain,” the Port of Tacoma has a long history of grain exports to the world market.

TEMCO is a 50-50 joint venture between CHS and Cargill. The facility has an elevator storage capacity of three million bushels. Annually, the location ships 225-250 million bushels of grain to the export market.

The facility has a one acre in size roof over its grain terminal, making the loading of grain easier in the often rainy conditions of Washington state.

See for Yourself participants received a behind the scenes tour of the control room.

TEMCO can load 100,000 bushels of grain an hour onto an outbound Panamax vessel. It takes six to seven unit trains (each unit train is 110 rail cars) to fill a Panamax vessel. Each Panamax has seven different compartments, making it easy to load and carry multiple grains at one time to our overseas customers. Each vessel is capable of holding 2.5 to 2.8 million bushels of soybeans.

The board shows the origination of grain currently being loaded onto the vessel at port.

Most grain at this facility arrives via rail from South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Canada.

The group saw a vessel destined for Korea loaded with corn from Mitchell and Emery grain elevators.

See for Yourself participants tour the rail yard at TEMCO.

TEMCO has two rail yards which holds 300 rail cars. Approximately 85% of the locations grain originates from the BNSF Railway. The facility can unload 80,000 bushels per an hour, or approximately 15 rail cars an hour. In normal conditions, it takes 4-5 days for a unit train to travel from the Midwest to the port. However, many natural disasters such as mudslides, avalanches, and snow storms have caused delays in rail deliveries to the port this winter.

Follow the blog as the South Dakota See for Yourself group continues their journey in Washington State.