By Matthew Weaver, April 2, 2014, Capital Press
Scoular Company, a Midwestern grain handler, recently signed a 25-year agreement to lease a barge-loading facility at the Port of Walla Walla.
“While the Scoular name may not be familiar to all farmers in the area, the company has a long and deep history in the grain business,” stated senior vice president Todd McQueen in a Scoular press release.
The Scoular Company declined to comment further until the construction project is further along.
Jim Kuntz, executive director of the Port of Walla Walla, said the facility is located at the port’s industrial park in Burbank, Wash., at the confluence of the Snake and Columbia rivers.
“The business park is really for shipping of products,” he said. “A grain company is a natural to locate (there).”
Grain trucked to the facility will be loaded onto barges headed to Portland for export, according to Scoular.
The facility has been closed for roughly a decade, Kuntz said. It was formerly operated by Connell Grain Growers.
Kuntz said the company plans to spend more than $1 million to rehabilitate the facility, including grain silos already on site.
“This facility hasn’t been operated for some time, so we’ll be investing in repairs and upgrades to make sure we can operate safely and efficiently,” McQueen stated in the press release.
Scoular plans to be operational in July.
Kuntz wasn’t certain how much grain would run through the facility, but said Scoular hopes to send grain from Southern Idaho farmers down to the river. He expects they will also speak with southeastern Washington wheat farmers.
Scoular is based in Omaha, Neb. The company has merchandising offices in Lake Oswego, Ore., and Preston, Idaho, and country elevators in Weiser, Idaho; Jerome, Idaho; Bancroft, Idaho; Grace, Idaho; and Michaud, Idaho.
“Farmers now have another option in the marketplace,” Kuntz said. “Any time you can bring a prime new company into your community that wants to invest more than $1 million in infrastructure in your post district, that’s a significant economic development achievement.”