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Construction has begun on the United Prairie Fertilizer Plant in Chrisman. The building is located on 36 and should be in operation by the Spring of 2022.
Brian Sheehy is in charge of the building operation. Sheehy began working with United Prairie twenty-two years ago after they approached him about employment. “My two stipulations were if I could keep my employees and my customers, we could talk,” Sheehy said. “I didn’t want to lose my staff. They are very good at what they do.”
United Prairie purchased fifteen acres of land to host the plant. Location was important due to the all of the necessities the building requires. “When you are building a fertilizer plant, you need plenty of water, an 80,000 pound road and plenty of land,” Brian said. The plant will also be buying water from Chrisman.
With crossroads, the plant can get products on a truck and service a wide area. The company currently has growers from north of I-74 in Indiana to just north of I-70 in Illinois and from Route 49 over to Turkey Run State Park in Indiana. This makes the Chrisman facility a centralized location.
The new plant will offer job opportunities when the facility is complete. The plant will set crop inputs to the local agriculture community. Crop Inputs are the products and expertise that assists producers that can be divided into four sectors such as seed, fertilizer, crop protection and service.
Assisting with the build is a general contractor from Davis Construction based out of Hammond, Indiana. “We were fortunate to have a grower who worked with us on the shape of the plant,” Sheehy told us.
Contractors assisting with the construction are Paul Akers Inc out of Greenfield, Indiana, Heartland Tank out of Englewood, Colorado and Central Illinois Scale based out of Danville, Illinois. “United Prairie works with these companies at all of our sites and we are very pleased to have them assisting with the construction of his new location,” Sheehy said.
The Chrisman facility will be big enough to service a wide geographic. United Prairie will continue to expand in other directions. “We want to be able to service our growers to the best of our abilities,” Sheehy said.
“I wanted to give our growers the best return investment I can. When they are successful, United Prairie is successful.”
United Prairie was formed in 1996, when Unity Grain and Grand Prairie Cooperative combined their crop production divisions in order to serve their customers more efficiently. In 1997, Monticello grain added their crop production division to United Prairie. At that point, United Prairie operated four retail locations at Pierson, Ivesdale, White Heath and Tolono.
In 1998, Unity Grain, Bement Grain and Cisco Co-op merged to form Topflight Grain.
Then in 2009, Grand Prairie Cooperative merged with Jamaica Farmers Elevator and Fisher Farmers Grain & Coal to form Premier Cooperative. Topflight Grain and Premier Cooperative are owners of United Prairie.
In 2015, CHS Cooperative invested their Central Illinois assets and became part of the ownership group.
Danvers Farm Elevator also invested in 2017. Today, United Prairie operates eleven retail locations throughout Central Illinois.