Driving on Highway 28 from Nephi to Levan, the strong contours of the Wasatch Range mellow out and the land and sky stretch wide.
A single facility stands in the plain like a lone watch tower. Several silos rise over a hundred feet tall. A plume of vapor rises from the top into the blue sky. As I approach, the smell of corn permeates the air. I pull in and it feels as if I am investigating a WMD factory—just one truck is the only evidence of human involvement at this mysterious facility. Fewer than 30 seconds after getting out of my car, a tall man approaches me. I really hope this guy buys my excuse for my visit. When I ask what they do here, his answer is simple and precise:
“We process ‘carn’ into feed.” Then, with just a little prompting, Karl Hughes provides a few details that reveal the enormity of the operation.
“Each silo holds 121 railcars of corn. Each railcar is 100 tons of corn. Each silo has a grain elevator that can empty a railcar in about seven minutes.” How much time will it take to fill the silo full of corn? It would be an excellent story problem for any fourth grade class.
Typically, trains come in with 30 railcars of corn, which is processed into feed in just a few days before it’s then unloaded to more railcars and sent to be distributed.
I learn that two of the massive silos are dedicated just for Moroni, Utah’s turkey farming operations. The other two are for IFA, distributed to independent farmers for poultry, cattle or pig feed.
Hughes explains, “I am a roller, but I guess my proper job title is ‘mill operator.’ My job is to cook and roll corn.” Hughes says he has only been with IFA at this facility for three months. He says he feels very fortunate to have such a great job for such a fine company. Just 14 men are required for this very automated facility. §
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