Port of Walla Walla signs lease with grain processor

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The Port of Walla Walla is bracing for a big future for wheat at its Burbank Business Park.

The economic development agency has finalized a lease with Omaha grain firm The Scoular Company. The new relationship is poised to convert the Port’s Burbank property into a shipping hub with the greatest volume of wheat in the property’s history.

Terms of the draft lease were originally reported March 14, after Port commissioners approved the agreement.

Port Executive Director Jim Kuntz said this morning the agency signed the lease Tuesday. The Scoular Company also signed the agreement.

Along with a lease with Northwest Grain Growers, which now occupies the former Cargill property, the new relationship is expected to fulfill the vision by which the Port was created more than six decades ago as a wheat shipping hub.

In a prepared statement Tuesday, Scoular Senior Vice President Todd McQueen said the company has “a long and deep history in the grain business.

“We’ve been around for more than 120 years, trading in this geography and operating grain elevators in the intermountain region for more than 25 years.

With the lease of this facility, we can expand our service to area farmers and grain dealers, putting our trading know-how and operations expertise to work in Burbank.”

The company plans to open in July before the start of the 2014 harvest. Between $1.3 million and $2 million in investments are anticipated by Scoular at the property, which includes a 400,000-bushel grain tank, silos and barge slip. It’s the first time in at least a decade the property the more than 12-acre site will be fully utilized. Grain will be trucked in from Southern Idaho and shipped by barge to Portland for export.

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