Grain Bins


Wilmot man named Elevator Manager of the Year

Posted on January 19, 2011

Kevin Saxton of the Border States Cooperative elevator in Wilmot has been selected Elevator Manager of the Year by the South Dakota Corn Utilization Council (SDCUC).
Bill Whipple of Wilmot, a member of the SDCUC board of directors, presented the award Jan. 19 during the South Dakota Grain and Feed Association’s annual convention in Sioux Falls.
“Kevin has been a great asset for the elevator, the community and for area farmers. When he took over, he established forward contracting of grain and competitive pricing. That was a significant step,” Whipple said. “And when the ethanol plant was being built at Big Stone, rather than view it as competition, he figured out a way to make it a marketing tool for the elevator.”
When Saxton took over as manager of the Equity Co-op Association elevator in Wilmot nearly 29 years ago, it was a small operation that handled about 350,000 bushels of grain. Today, the facility is the Border States Cooperative elevator and it handles 2 million bushels a year. Saxton is department manager of grain.
The annual SDCUC award recognizes an outstanding elevator manager for dedication to the grain and feed industry, customer service, community service and leadership.
The native of Beardsley, Minn. has been a manager at the elevator since 1982. Under his leadership, the Wilmot operation’s working capital doubled over a seven-year period. As business grew, the cooperative built several bins and constructed a new elevator in 1989. A fertilizer plant was added in 1992.
Equity Co-op and the Farmers Union Co-op in town merged in 1999 and operated through 2003 as Farmers Co-op Association. At that time, the co-op formed a regionalization with CHS Inc. and the elevator became Border States Co-op.
The elevator handles close to 1 million bushels of corn, 700,000 bushels of soybeans and 300,000 bushels of wheat. About 80 percent of the corn is used to make ethanol.
Saxton has three full-time employees and one part-timer. He and his wife, Dawn, have three adult children. They also have six grandchildren.

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