April 08, 2010

Repairs authorized to storm-damaged feed mill

by K.C. Jaehnig

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Nearly a year after a devastating storm ripped through a number of campus buildings, Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s farms is on the way to having a functioning feed mill again.

Meeting in Edwardsville, the SIU Board of Trustees today (April 8) awarded a $516,498 contract for repair of the facility, located on Union Hill Road southwest of the main campus, to Adams Building Contractors Inc. out of Jackson, Mich. Keith Martin Inc. of Johnston City won the contract for $27,370 worth of electrical work. Crews will clear the site, renovate both the structure and its façade, mend damaged equipment, replacing what can’t be fixed, and restore damaged electrical systems.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency will foot the bill for 75 percent of the project. The University’s deferred maintenance account will cover the remaining 25 percent.

“The feed mill is the center of what we do in livestock operations,” said Todd A. Winters, interim dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences, who oversees the farms.

“It’s where we mix our feed rations, especially for the dairy and swine centers. We need multiple formulations, depending on where they are in their life stages.”

Lack of a working feed mill forced farm managers to buy pre-mixed feed from commercial suppliers, adding $33,000 to the cost of feed annually.

The project also includes restoration of storm-damaged bins used to store corn and soybeans grown at the University, Winters said.

“Storage bins allow us to hold these grains until we can get the best market price for them,” he said.

“We did use them last year, but they were no longer watertight so we developed a mold problem and had to get rid of the grain.”

Winters said farm buildings next on the repair list include the service center building, which attends to the farms’ vehicles and equipment, and the Horse Center’s breeding barn.