Location: Fillmore, Saskatchewan, CANADA
Affiliate: Seaboard Special Crops – Fillmore (legal name Fillmore Seeds Inc.)
Year opened: Business started in July 1986. Purchased outright by Seaboard effective August 1, 2010
Products/Services offered by Fillmore Seeds:
Seaboard Special Crops Fillmore purchases different varieties of Lentils (Crimson, Laird & Eston), Green and Yellow Peas, Flax and Canary seed direct from local farmers. We then clean the product, bag it (if required) and load it out by rail, truck, intermodal or container, shipping it wherever our Seaboard trading platform has requested the product be sent. We also purchase Canola and soybeans from farmers, load it out by rail in hopper cars or trucks “farmer dressed” (no cleaning) and ship this product where Seaboard Traders request it be sent.
Describe a normal day – Activities, shifts, how does the product move along the production line, etc.
It all starts with our Commodity Merchandiser at the plant that works with Seaboard’s traders to determine the most effective prices that the external buyers will pay, and what the farmers are prepared to accept. Once the farmer accepts the price, they provide a sample of their product to our plant quality control individuals. Quality Control will determine if the product meets the specifications requested by Seaboard Traders. Provided the sample is approved, a contract is drawn up detailing the price, grade and number of tonnes to be delivered. The farmer then delivers the predetermined number of tonnes agreed to, and each load brought in is graded again (to make sure the agreed upon quality of product is actually delivered).We provide a grain receipt for each load detailing the product delivered, the grade and gross amount, less any dockage (which is the foreign material, weed seeds, chaff etc.) to determine the net amount. We then pay the farmer for those deliveries.
Once the product has been delivered, it is stored in Fillmore’s grain silos. When shipping instructions are received from the Logistics group at Seaboard Special Crops Regina, we ensure that it is transferred out of the dirty silo by our cleaning staff, put through multiple cleaners removing most of the foreign material and place the product in a position ready to be shipped. Seaboard Special Crops Fillmore personnel then load it out into whichever shipping mode has been determined by the Logistics group. Some of the shipping options include: bulk rail/truck/intermodal/container or we place it in bags (25/50kg or 100lb) loading it into Intermodal/container or truck. Canola and soybeans skip the cleaning and bagging and go straight to rail or truck shipping.
How many employees/collaborators work at the facility?
Presently, we have twenty employees at our Seaboard Special Crops Fillmore location; Our General Manager Patrick Poissant, 4 staff members in administration, 1 commodity merchandiser, 2 individuals in quality control, 1 staff member in Maintenance, 8 cleaner/operators and 3 shipping employees. The GM, administration and commodity merchandiser all work together as a team to handle the marketing and procurement/payment of product. Quality control, Maintenance, cleaners and shipping work closely together to make sure the processing side of the plant, from delivery to loadout work smoothly and error free.
What are the typical daily challenges Fillmore Seeds faces?
The main challenge is ensuring communication is effective all the way through the organization. Our Buyers must act as liaisons between the traders and the farmers, administrative staff must make sure all the paper work is in order between all the various functions, and our cleaners/driveway personnel must know what product is to be delivered, where it is stored and when it is to be cleaned. In addition, the shipping group must know what product and grade is going into which shipment. Constant communication is vital to ensure all functions operate smoothly.
What is the latest project or improvement Fillmore Seeds went through?
In 2017, we finalized an expansion project that increased our cleaning and shipping capacity. This project was successful and installed a larger cleaner, increased loadout capacity by increasing the size of our track side load out scales and drags, as well as doubling our rail siding capacity. We can now load out 56 bulk rail spots within 24 hours of receiving the cars here at the Fillmore location.
Are there any new projects developing soon, if so can you provide details about them?
We are looking at increasing our storage capacity as well as increasing our ability to properly store product safely in Fillmore.
What makes Fillmore Seeds unique or different to others?
One thing that makes Seaboard Special Crops Fillmore unique is that 80% of the staff have worked together for the past 10 to 15 years. All of us have a clear understanding of what is expected and how to accomplish our goals. We are all dedicated to attracting good quality product from our local farmers, paying them in a timely manner, and ensuring that we ship the quality of the product requested in the form stipulated by the external buyers.
How’s life in this location? Weather, economy, infrastructure, traffic, government, society, etc.?
We live in a part of the world that experiences all 4 distinct seasons, spring, summer, fall and winter. The winter season seems to last the longest and the temperatures can dip as low as -40 degrees Celsius with a stiff breeze. The summer season however can get as hot as plus 40 degrees Celsius which can be challenging too. In Southern Saskatchewan, if you don’t happen to like the weather, don’t worry, it will change soon.
We are very fortunate to live in a safe environment with strong and stable local, provincial and national Government along with well-maintained roads in the area. We also have excellent rail service, good stable power, internet and phone access allowing the business portion of our operation to integrate seamlessly with our Seaboard partners.
What is special about the affiliate’s location? Touristic spots or interesting things to see and do, etc.
Fillmore is located about 60 miles north of the U.S. border where North Dakota and Montana meet. It is flat land (think table-top flat), ideal for farming. It is also ideal for local populations of deer and moose, making it somewhat interesting for driving. We are right on a major pathway for migratory birds, (Geese and Ducks) making hunting a popular past time.