THE PROBLEM


In recent years, Green Valley Ag, located in Western Michigan, realized they were facing growth challenges. During growing season, customers could be in line for 1-2 hours to receive both dry and liquid fertilizer. No longer was replacing key parts to expand capacity going to work. They needed a new facility.

With 25 years’ experience, owners John Christian and Mark Edema, knew they wanted a long term solution – one that would ensure that customers would continue to receive prompt service for years to come.

In addition, Green Valley Ag wanted to leverage as much of their existing staff as possible and limit rapid hiring to staff the new location. They also wanted better inventory control and process improvement with integration into their agronomy software. With this, Green Valley Ag could make sure customers received the same high (or higher) level of customer service they had come to expect.

“One of the challenges we face is that Michigan is a destination state. Nobody comes through here unless they are going to Michigan. The nearest terminal is 2.5 hours away, so we spend a lot of time burning up the highways,” said John Christian. “We needed better control to ensure we have the inventory on hand to service our customers while keeping costs in line.”


THE SOLUTION


Green Valley Ag Owners Mark Edema and John Christian
Green Valley Ag Owners Mark Edema and John Christian
Green Valley Ag purchased plot of land in Wayland, MI with rail access. This allowed them to bring in larger volumes of liquid and dry fertilizer.

Early on they engaged Murray Equipment, Inc. (MEI), a leading supplier of liquid handling equipment in North America, to help them design new liquid plant, complete with automation and controls for both their liquid and dry fertilizer plants.

“Some of the unique challenges that Green Valley Ag brought to us was the diversity of crops that they provided solutions for and their wide range customer sizes,” said MEI Sales Manager Todd Scobie. “We worked alongside them to engineer plants that would help them address both these issues while dramatically improving efficiencies.”


THE RESULT


The new liquid fertilizer and chemical plant accommodates vehicle sizes of .5 to 50 tons, offers over 2 million gallons of storage, and can fill a semi load in 6 to 8 minutes. The dry fertilizer plant accommodates vehicle sizes of 2 to 50 tons and offers 18 thousand tons of storage. Murray Equipment provided the automation and controls for both plants. As a result, tickets can be sent directly to the MEI software from Green Valley’s agronomy software and upon fulfillment, sent back for billing. The outcome is that tickets that might have required 1 hour to fulfill can be addressed in 20 minutes. Tickets are brought back into the system immediately rather than at the end of the day or up to 3 days later during busy season, inventory levels remain accurate, and shrink is at a minimum.


FACILITY PHOTO GALLERY