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Enid’s elevators hold 80 million bushels.


Terminal Grain Elevators


Smaller elevators in locations such as Kingfi sher, Minco and El Reno are known as “country elevators.” These act as gathering points for the grain, which is then shipped via truck to larger elevators, called “terminal eleva- tors.” Enid is home to some of the largest terminal elevators in the world, able to store over 80 million bushels of wheat and ship over 100 million bushels annually. Blake Gumprecht, a doctoral student at the University of Oklahoma, wrote about Enid in his paper Giants of the Plains: The Grain Elevators of Enid, Oklahoma. “This tremendous concentration of storage helped make Enid the wheat capital of the Southwest by 1950 and a grain center of international impor- tance as home to the largest wheat exporting organization in the world.” These terminal facilities work similar to the much smaller “country eleva- tors”—just on a larger scale. Much of their cargo is sold in trainloads. A large terminal elevator like the ones in Enid might sell an entire trainload of grain to an overseas distributor in Europe or Asia. The train may haul the load from Enid via rail to Houston, where it would be loaded onto ships and carried across the ocean.


Newer elevators like this one at Minco Elevator and Supply are made of steel. They are typically much bigger in circumference and not as tall as concrete elevators.


Elevator as the Center of Rural Oklahoma


Rural elevators are not only relevant to a community during harvest. They often act as a place for farmers to gather, purchase supplies, fertilizer and seed. David Bonds, general manager of Banner Co-op elevator in Banner, Okla., explained, “We sell fertilizer and other farm supplies during the off-season. During harvest, however, it is all-hands-on-deck—everyone pitch- es in to help unload grain trucks. That is our busiest time of the year.” The days of concrete elevators may be past. Most recently constructed elevators are made of steel and are not nearly as tall as the older concrete skyscrapers. Still, the grain elevator remains a pillar of Oklahoma’s econo- my, a place to store the bountiful harvest of our state’s rich soil before it moves on to consumers in far fl ung locations, bringing growth and econom- ic development to rural Oklahoma.


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