Grain News

Southern Plains Co-op Loses Facilities in Greensburg, KS Tornado

Date Posted: May 7, 2007

by Frank Zaworski, Grainnet Editor

An F5 tornado that ripped across the plains of Kansas May 4 destroyed 95% of the town of Greensburg, including the Southern Plains Co-op elevator and warehouses there.

A mile outside of Greensburg, a warehouse and grain facility owned by Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) was spared by the storm and was serving as a staging area for workers and volunteers.

"Early indications are that the Southern Plains facility is a complete loss," said Duane Simpson of the Kansas Grain and Feed Association.

"Southern Plains' Greensburg superintendent Ron Gruber reported that none of the Co-op's employees were injured in the tornado, but four employees lost their homes."

Simpson said that other cooperatives in the area have sent people and equipment to Greensburg to help Southern Plains Co-op personnel with cleanup and salvage operations.

He added that although some ag chemicals were spilled by the storm, nothing appeared to have escaped their containment areas.

Workers on May 7 were going to attempt to salvage what grain they could that was still in the co-op's silos.

Based on photos taken of the destruction by the Kansas City Star and other news outlets, the co-op's concrete silos are the only tall structures left standing in Greensburg.

Gary Gillespie of ADM reported to Simpson that while their facility was undamaged by the storm, six employees lost their homes to the tornado's wrath.

Damage by the tornado spread across an area 1.5 miles wide and 22 miles long.

The Farmers Cooperative Union (FCU) in nearby Claflin, Ks, lost 5 grain storage facilities.

One FCU employee lost his home.

Two employees who worked at the cooperative in nearby Haviland, but resided in Greensburg, lost their homes to the storm.

Superintendent Gruber, according to Simpson, is thankful for the assistance that has been given and offered. He asks, however, that monetary donations be made to the local Red Cross.

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