Newton Ag Business, LLC, d/b/a Richards Elevator, is a local grain elevator located in Columbus, Indiana, Bartholomew County. This business has always been locally owned and operated. Frank Richards, who was an educator in the Taylorsville local elementary school, purchased the elevator out of bankruptcy court in 1910. He operated the facility until 1938 when his son-in-law, Ralph Snyder became actively involved in the business. The elevator was then operated by Mr. Richard’s grandson, Charlie Snyder from 1960 to 1974.
The elevator was sold by the Snyder family to Ron and Julia Richards, no relation to Frank Richards, in 1974. They operated the business from 1974 up to 1999 when the elevator was sold to Newton Ag Business, LLC. Newton Properties Group, LLC, purchased the property and leased the elevator to Newton AG Business, LLC in August of 1999. Newton Ag is owned equally by Jason S. Newton and Philip S. Newton.
The business buys grain from local producers in a 75 mile radius of our facility. We sell this Food Grade grain to various industries but primarily to food grade product producers in Indiana. We also sell corn to the ethanol industry in Indiana with our soft red wheat being sold to the large multi-national companies. Our soybean products are sold to a local chicken/egg producer however a large portion of this grain is sold to a soy oil and meal processer in our area.
The original facility had operated on Main Street in Taylorsville since 1908 and through the years had grown to a total of 300,000 bushel storage capacity. The elevator was shipping over 1.5 million bushels of corn, soybeans and soft red winter wheat annually. This facility was no longer able to sustain the growth the company was experiencing so the company purchased fourteen (14) acres and built a new 1.1 million-bushel steel elevator at its new site just east of State Road 31 on CR 550N. The Indiana & Louisville Railroad, a regional railroad with connections to the CSX railroad runs just west of the facility however, they do not have any loading facilities available in this area. The construction of the new facility was started on June 1, 2009 and completed in time for harvest in October of 2009.
The new elevator has two (2) 523,000 bushel GSI corrugated steel tanks standing 105 feet in diameter, 64 feet tall at the eaves, and 93 feet tall at the peak. The tanks are outfitted with a pair of 40-hp fans that supply 1/10 cfm per bushel through in-floor ducting, with the assistance of seven roof exhausters per tank.
In addition to the big tanks, the elevator has smaller flat – bottom tanks for wet storage, rated at 58,000 and 27,000 bushels, respectively. Another 45,000-wet storage bin was built in 2014/15 and put into service in 2015. There is room enough in this location to add an additional 1.5 million storage capacity utilizing the same grain handling system.
In 2013, it was realized there was going to be a “bumper crop” of corn harvested in our area that year and we installed a ground storage unit that will hold 300,000 bushels of corn. It was used only in the year of 2013 but is still capable of being pulled into service when needed.
Prior to delivering grain, incoming trucks are weighed on a 70-foot Metteler-Toledo three – section pit less scale and sampled with an Intersystem truck probe. Incoming trucks deliver grain to an enclosed, above – ground, 1,300 – bushel mechanical receiving pit. The pit is large enough for drivers to dump hoppers simultaneously. The pit delivers grain to a 10,000 bph GSI receiving leg. The elevator operator has the option of drying grain in a propane-fired modular dryer, rated at 2,000 bph at five points of moisture removal.
From either the wet tanks or the dryer, grain is carried on a drag conveyor to an EBM Gentle Roll sifter cleaner, rated at 3,500 bph. The rotary cleaner can reach either dry tank or directly to an 18,000 bushel surge tank for loading into trucks. This capability allows us to serve specialty markets when required.
In 2011 a new 6,000 square foot office – warehouse and receiving facility was constructed. This new building is used to facilitate meetings with customers; marketing meetings to generate new opportunities with new potential producers; facilitate a more efficient handling of incoming and outgoing grain and to handle the small feed business we maintained.
In 2012, the company moved a 150,000-bushel existing bin from its original facility in Taylorsville to the new facility. The bin was erected in a stand-alone area and is located in an area that was established for the purpose of receiving soybeans and soft red wheat. This site has been designed to add three more sixty-foot diameter bins for future needs.
Our bean harvest has continued to grow so in 2016 we installed another 100,000-bushel bin for our dedicated bean receipt area. In 2016, we handled over 450,000 bushels of beans and continues to be a growing commodity market for our company.
Prior to this bin moving to the new facility, the old facility was being used for the purpose of handling the soybeans and soft red wheat. The owners determined this was not efficient and made the decision to relocate the bin and set up a standalone facility at the new location. This location is now being leased to the German Township Trustee.
This operation has its own 6,000 bph dump which delivers grain to a 6,500 bph receiving leg. The leg deposit grain into the bin for storage and has a 40 hp aeration fan with through in-floor ducting for air drying of grain. The grain is removed from the bin with auger fed load out capability through a leg and12 inch load out handling system for shipping of product.
Newton AG Business, LLC, continues to investigate new opportunities for growth and meeting the needs of specialized niche markets. We feel our capabilities and facilities are positioned for potential growth well into the future of a growing agriculture industry.