The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

Port of Whitman County Awarded $1.6 Million Loan

The loan will be used to fund water infrastructure
Port of Whitman County Business Air Center.

On Sept. 21, the Port of Whitman County was awarded a low-interest $1.6 million loan from the Washington Community Economic Revitalization Board (CERB) to help fund the extension of rail of water infrastructure. The infrastructure expansion precedes the eventual construction of a fertilizer manufacturing and distributing facility for the Port’s business partner, Agrow Solutions.

The $1.6 million is a 20-year loan awarded to the Port for the extension of the rail and water infrastructure currently at the Port of Central Ferry. A current rail lead on the port will be expanded further to reach an empty lot designated for the project. The lot is about 11 acres and located on the Port’s southeastern side, according to a news brief released by the port. The infrastructure upgrade will also see a well installed in the lot, according to a news brief by the Port sent in an email to the Daily Evergreen.

The Port of Whitman County was awarded the loan to cover the infrastructure upgrades, and the funding will cover permitting, construction, and engineering for the project. The Port applied for the loan with support from its business partner Agrow Solutions, a Pullman-based crop consulting and fertilizer manufacturing company, according to the brief.

“Eventually, the Port’s committed private partner, Agrow Solutions, intends to build a private fertilizing manufacturing and distributing facility on the lot. The Port’s role is just to extend the rail and water infrastructure, and to maintain those items,” Patty Kieburtz, Port of Whitman County assistant communications director, said.

Agrow Solutions plans to invest an additional $2.5 million in the construction of a new fertilizer manufacturing and distributing plant on the port’s lot, Kieburtz said.

According to the Port’s news brief, Agrow Solutions had approached the port in late 2022 to address the expansion of the company onto the lot.

The Pullman-based company provides consultation and fertilizer blends to stimulate agricultural commodities and crops in the Palouse region. The company seeks to provide the personal relationship aspect to the industry. After collaborating with local farms to help figure out the specific needs of the farm, the company helps to develop farm plans based on nutrient specifications, Agrow Solutions owner and manager Ben Moehrle, said.

“Agrow Solutions is based in Pullman right now, but they’ve reached their capacity,” Kieburtz said. “They want to have another location in which they are able to mix more fertilizer, and are able to move it to market easier, which is why they’re looking to have that rail extended, so they’re able to bring the product in. They will have the opportunity to move the product out to market if they want via rail as well.”

The port’s infrastructure expansion is expected to begin in early 2024 and will be completed around the early summer, depending on when construction wraps up, ideally around this coming May or June, Kieburtz said.

The Agrow Solutions facility is anticipated to finish construction this coming summer as well, with a goal end time of late August, said Moehrle.

The project is expected to create seven new job openings as well. Once the facility is completed, Agrow Solutions will begin operations, Moehrle said.

“This expansion will help to build the custom fertilizer blends Agrow creates for farms. We can bring in raw materials and custom-tailor them to meet the exact goals of a farm. Every farm and field is a bit different based on nutrient requirements and the goals of the farmer. If we have the ability to more closely fine-tune specific mixes, we can really tailor the fertilizer blend for specific farms,” Moehrle said.

The construction company taking the project is not yet known. Because the project is a fairly recent decision, the company completing the engineering and construction of the project will ideally be decided within the next few months, said Kieburtz.

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