9th July 2015
"It was a really fitting culmination of six years' hard work." John Burnett, managing director of Woldgrain reflects on the visit of HRH The Duke of Gloucester to open new facilities at the North Lincolnshire site, on Friday 3rd July.
At an event for members of the cooperative, the Duke met Lincolnshire farmers and took a tour of the site before unveiling a commemorative plaque.
John was very impressed with the Duke's personal knowledge of the industry, "The Duke was very interested; being a land owner and farmer himself, he knew an awful lot more than I expected, he asked really interesting questions, technical questions as well."
During the tour the Duke expressed particular interest in the laboratory and commented that he hadn't seen one before that was quite so sophisticated and well equipped. "He was very interested in the testing process and the machinery," John explains.
The tour of the site also included the control room where the royal visitor was shown the computer systems that run the whole plant. The speed that the new facilities can work at has significantly increased the efficiency of the grain movement process and is a great bonus to local growers. "We loaded one lorry and unloaded another through the system and he was very impressed by how quickly we can work."
The new systems on site allow a lorry to be turned around in 20 minutes, reduced from almost 60 minutes before the improvements. This is complemented by 3 grain driers which can process 300 tonnes per hour as well as 3 pre-cleaners and one fine cleaner.
The tour concluded with the Duke being shown inside one of the large silos. The expansion at the site means that there is now 85,000 tonnes of space available to members. Funding for the project has come from a combination of DEFRA grants, match funded by the members.
Frontier Agriculture is a member of Woldgrain having purchased 20,000t of storage space. This investment allowed Woldgrain to secure the final grant and to complete the last phase of the work. The company is also one of the four approved marketing partners. Simon Christensen, Frontier's grain director, and a member of the Woldgrain board was at the opening and can clearly see the benefits to everyone involved in the project, but especially local farmers.
"There is a strong consumer demand in Yorkshire and the North West, and much of that grain is supplied by growers in Lincolnshire. Our investment here has given us the opportunity to develop even closer and stronger relationships with growers in Lincolnshire and that will mean new marketing opportunities for them."
Overall John was very pleased with the event, "It feels like a success to me. We wanted to do something as a celebration of everything that had gone before, and to say thank you to everyone that has been involved along the way. Now it is time to look to the future and ensure that all our members can gain the greatest benefits from the new facilities."