Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Field Trip to the Port of Lewiston

How does the grain from our farm and many others on the "Palouse"  end up reaching those far away lands across the ocean?  Well, last Monday I was able to get a quick tour from Arvid Lyons, Manager of the Lewis Clark Terminal located in the Port of Lewiston. 

The harvested wheat will end up at this facility and it will be sent down the river to Portland, Oregon on barges. From Portland it will be unloaded and reloaded into an ocean vessel to reach it's final destination.

A semi truck loaded with wheat is ready to unload the grain
at the terminal
Arvid kindly took the time out of his busy day to escort me around the facility.  (if you have trouble viewing the videos, click here as I've found that the email blog sign-up doesn't allow the videos to come through on some browsers )

A quick recap of Arvid's narration was that one tug can push 4 barges down the river to Portland, Oregon and that the trip takes about 50 hours with a 4 man crew working 24 hours a day.  The tug will burn about 8,000 gallons of fuel one way and it is the most efficient way to get grain to Portland.

Our first stop was the "flathouse" - this is where the grain goes when the semi-trucks unload. 
A view of what the inside of the flathouse looks like

A video of the stored  grain inside the flathouse.  This is a huge building and from here the wheat will be  sent (from  drop holes in the floor) over to the barge.

Following Arvid to the river where the barge was being filled

The flathouse is on the left and the concrete silos are on the right.
The bridge looking extension is where the grain is sent over to the barge in an enclosed tube.

A barge being loaded with wheat.  This process takes 6 hours to load as well as unload
once it reaches Portland

The front of the barge

The barge being filled

The vehicles give you a frame of reference on just how tall
the concrete silos are!

Well there you have it, my simplisic version of how grain gets sent overseas.  A huge  THANK YOU to Arvid and his staff who were kind enough to allow me to take pictures and ask questions.

As for Farmer Joe, well he is in our State's capitol working on helping get some legislation passed that will help our University of Idaho get more wheat research funding. I'll give more info on that later on and what it means to you, the consumer.  After all, we have your best interests at heart.

As always, I am so appreciative when readers stop by and read the blog, as well as leave comments or email.  (It may sound corny, but when I get emails or comments, it's the same thrill as when I was young & would get mail). Plus I want to make sure that people have a direct connection to the farmer (idahofarmwife@gmail.com) so ask away if you have questions or comments. =)  All my best Gayle.

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