Longtime landmark coming down
Two years after announcing the CHS grain elevator and handling facilities in Columbus were shutting down, the iconic structures are being removed.
The dark gray elevator, located just east of the Pratten Street railroad tracks, is in the process of being dismantled.
“We currently are in the process of dismantling the Columbus elevator and several others in Montana we have ceased using. This also is in keeping with our commitment to community safety and stewardship by removing an unused facility that could become a target for vandalism and unsafe behavior by trespassers,” said the company in a statement when contacted by the SCN.
CHS (Cenex Harvest States) announced in mid 2012 that it would no longer use its Columbus grain elevator, serving area producers instead through the other grain handling facilities in the region. This decision is consistent with ensuring that our employees are working in and our producers are being served by facilities that meet our commitment to efficiency and safety.
That announcement came after OSHA cited CHS for 13 safety violations, nine of which were classified as serious, three were repeats and one was “willful,” according to the Department of Labor.
The “willful” violation was based on employees being exposed to being overcome by hazards including phosphene gas, hydrogen sulfide, carbon monoxide gases or “an oxygen deficient atmosphere,” according to the citation. The penalties involved totaled fines of $229,000.
CHS expressed disappointment at that time and a concern for their employees.
CHS is an international Fortune 100 company that supplies energy, crop nutrients, grain marketing services, animal feed, insurance and more. It employs more than 10,000 people and is owned by 600,000 producers. The majority of those are throughout 1,100 member cooperatives. In 2013 fiscal year, the company generated $992.4 million in net income and $44.5 billion in net revenues, according to company statistics.