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Diamond W Feeds in Medina, N.D., is just completing a $1.2 million project to get back up and running after an October 2016 fire. (Jenny Schlecht/Agweek)

Diamond W Feeds back up and running after fire

MEDINA, N.D. — Around 8:30 a.m. on Aug. 29, a semi pulled into Diamond W Feeds and started unloading.

"That's some of our first product," manager Kenny Hoffer said.

The delivery was a big deal for a feed store that hasn't been able to make feed in its own location for nearly a year.

On Oct. 16, 2016, a fire destroyed most of the feed stores' buildings at the old grain elevator in Medina. Since then, feed for Diamond W customers has been made at other Purina locations in the area. Staff from Diamond W have brought semi loads back to Medina before heading out for customer deliveries in the company's more than 125-mile service area.

It was a long winter and spring, Hoffer said. But that all should be done now.

Malard Elevator Construction of Hazelton, N.D., is working on the finishing touches of a $1.2 million project that will have Diamond W Feeds back up and running.

Diamond W is a partnership among Hoffer and Terry, Tracy and Marvin Wanzek. The feed company opened in 2003 in the former Medina Farmers Union Grain Company. It covers a large footprint, delivering feed west to Dickinson, N.D., south to McIntosh, S.D., and east past Valley City, N.D., Hoffer said. Diamond W also grinds and delivers semi loads of feed to seven other Purina locations stretching into eastern Montana.

Hoffer said Diamond W struggled all winter and spring to keep up with the needs of its feed customers, but they were willing to put on the extra miles to keep the business. He expected to start up the new grinder, which will grind 50 tons an hour — double the old grinder, late last week.

Hoffer said the new facility was built for expansion, adding bin capacity as well as providing more bins in which to hold different rations and different input products. They'll be able to store 110,000 bushels of corn in two old bins that weren't lost in the fire, and they'll have eight or nine bins for other inputs. On the outgoing side, there will be five or six 4,000 bushel bins to hold various products.

"We're trying to look into the future," he said.

New rations may include horse products as well as additional sheep and lamb rations, supplements and feedlot products, he said.

"There are rumors that maybe down the road there might be a pelleting plant being added to this location," Hoffer said. While there is "nothing in writing," Diamond W left room to the east of its new building in case that comes to be.

After the fire, plenty of other communities offered space for Diamond W, Hoffer said. But staying put and rebuilding in Medina made the most sense. The company employs six full-time employees, all local. Two 55,000 bushel bins, which will be incorporated into the new system, and a Quonset didn't burn in the fire. Plus, the Corn Belt begins around Medina and gets heavier to the east, while more cattle are fed toward the west, making Medina an ideal location for processing and hauling, he said.

"(We want to) thank the town of Medina for support. And all of the customers have been very patient with us," Hoffer said. "We're ready to rock 'n' roll."