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Cropland Containers expands niche, facility

Company refurbishes ag feed containers

February 24, 2013
By LINDSEY MUTCHLER, , Messenger News

WEBSTER CITY - In less than five years, Cropland Containers' number of business accounts grew from two to 225.

"I think it was the right time, right place," said Brian Bilyeu, president and chief executive officer of the company. "In 2009, we didn't know how it was going to go, but it's worked out really well."

In 2013, the company is expanding its 85,000-square-foot facility through the purchase of another building in Webster City.

Article Photos

-Messenger photo by Lindsey Mutchler
David Fountain uses a wet vacuum to remove residual water from the inside of the totes before they move down the line to an automated dryer.

"We weren't expecting to buy a second building, but White Transfer gave us a lucrative offer and we said, 'Well, let's grow and expand in Webster City,'" Bilyeu said.

Cropland Containers is the only one of its kind in the agricultural market, Bilyeu said. The company receives agricultural containers - such as 330-gallon totes and drums - from companies, such as Van Diest and United Suppliers that once held chemicals; washes them, recertifies them and then returns them to the company to reuse.

"The go right back into the ag market," Bilyeu said. "The purpose of the company is for businesses to be able to reuse the containers rather than always buying new."

With the expansion, the company is adding feed bins to its list of products.

"We are building a new wash line and plan to get into washing feed bins for companies like Pioneer, Monsanto and others," Bilyeu said. "It will be the biggest feed bin washing line in the U.S."

Jim Sharkey, plant manager for Cropland Containers in Webster City, said the facility has washed out feed bins on its lower wash room, but with the expansion, the company will build a new automated cleaning line.

The expansion is expected to bring an additional 18 jobs to the area.

The growth at Cropland Containers is benefiting the community with more than just jobs. They're also increasing the tax roll, according to Dave Toyer, Webster City's economic development director

"They were leasing their existing facility," Toyer said. "When they made the decision to relocate components to Webster City, they determined it would be a good move to purchase the building they're in and acquire another vacant building in town."

That increased the size to around 150,000 square feet, Toyer said. Bilyeu said at this point, he plans to use one building for receiving dirty containers and the second one will be used as storage for the clean containers.

The location of Webster City has been great for business, Bilyeu said.

The company's headquarters are in Minneapolis, Minn., with its parent company Stainlez Inc. Webster City gave Cropland a more central location.

"Webster City is a nice size community, and the people working at Webster City, like Ed (Sadler) and Dave (Toyer) are excellent to work with," Bilyeu said. "They're always on the lookout for businesses we can partner with. It's been really nice."



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