Herald JournalHoward Lake-Waverly Herald, July 22, 2002

Old wooden elevator now closed

By Lynda Jensen

Following 100 years of faithful service, the wooden elevator alongside the railroad tracks near the Wright County Fairgrounds is now closed for commercial use.

The landmark, built before the 1900s, will be available for rent or sale by interested local farmers, said Dave Pruess, general manager of Munson Lakes Nutrition.

Corn will continue to be stored at the Howard Lake facility, but beans and oats will be rerouted to the newer Cokato facility, Pruess said. A trucking service is being set up for this purpose, he said.

The move was necessary to ensure the quality of the grain, although it would still be suitable for private use, said Mark Dahlman of Munson's.

The old elevator is antiquated, and it was not feasible to modernize it, Pruess said.

Munson's purchased the elevator from Peavy in 1964, commented Shelly Reddemann, who managed the elevator for several years and worked for both companies. "It's a disappointment," he said.

The grain conditions are easier to control in a modern facility, Blauwiekel Blauwiekel, a recent addition to Munson's staff.

"It was like using a Model T for the work of a semi-truck," she said.

The bins west of Howard Lake will also be closed, since they are not used most of the year and the revenue does not cover the cost to operate them, Dahlman commented.

Munson's has been changing along with the times; just recently adding two staff members, Pruess said.

Longevity of staff is a huge advantage for Munson's, since the turnover rate is so low, Blauwiekel said.

For example, the sales staff have a minimum of 15 years experience with the company, she said.

Ted Hanson was added in the manufacturing department at Howard Lake.

Blauwiekel is the most recent addition to staff, being hired July 15.

Her background is extensive, making her something of a dairy expert.

Blauwiekel graduated with honors from Michigan State University with a DVM degree. Blauwiekel spent six years in a large animal practice where her specialty was working with dairy cows. She subsequently studied at Washington State University and was awarded a Ph.D. in animal nutrition. Academic positions she served include assistant professor at Washington State University, a visiting fellow at the University of Helsinki in Finland, and assistant professor at West Virginia University.

She has been published more than 70 times, and a guest lecturer at more than 50 conferences. Her lectures and publications have all concentrated on dairy nutrition and dairy herd health.

She has traveled the world and worked with dairy cows in Poland, Mexico, Japan, Estonia, and Finland.

Blauwiekel has also been a large animal veterinarian, a technical dairy consultant for one of the largest dairy cooperatives in the world, and most recently, a herd health manager for one of the more progressive dairy farms in the upper Midwest.

She lives in Litchfield, with her husband, Curt Taylor.

Pruess himself is new, replacing an interim manager who took over following several years of former general manager Kevin Dahlen, who left at the end of 2001.

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