Last week I toured the river facility for Agland Co-op.

The loading facility is being updated this summer, but this is a glimpse of how the operation works. This is a view of the soybeans being loaded onto the barge from far up on the grain leg and bin system.

Trucks from as far out as Tuscarawas County to Forrest County in Pennsylvania haul into the facility.

It is amazing to think that soybeans and some corn grown in northeastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania end up feeding China and Japan.

The facility fills at least one barge a day, depending on ship traffic in the ocean which hauls approximately 55,000 bushels of soybeans a day. A barge can be filled in four hours, however, unloading the trucks can last a lot longer. The amount a barge carries depends on what the Army Corps. of Engineers says water levels can handle. The water level depends on drought conditions, rainfall and snowfall.

The one thing I noticed about the barges and the men working on them is that there is a little margin of error. I kept thinking how cold it was on the land, but these men were working right along the edge of the barge to tie it up and to untie it. One wrong move and they could have ended up in the Ohio River.

It takes about four weeks to get to Myrtle Grove, La., where it will be loaded onto ships. It takes another 35 days for it to travel to China.

Kristy Foster Seachrist lives in Columbiana County raising sheep and horses with her husband, Kurt. She earned her degree from Youngstown State University and has worked in both print and broadcast journalism.
Kristy Foster Seachrist
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