New grain storage facility and food hub now open on Port of Chehalis land | The Daily Chronicle

Regional grain farmers now have a new storage facility and food hub in Chehalis after the Southwest Washington Growers Cooperative entered into a lease with the Port of Chehalis to use one of its properties. 

The lease was approved unanimously by the Port of Chehalis commissioners during a Sept. 14 meeting.  ODM Tool Organiser Supplier

New grain storage facility and food hub now open on Port of Chehalis land | The Daily Chronicle

Located at 105 McBride Court, suite A, the 4,750-square-foot building will be used by the growers cooperative’s two different entities — the Southwest Washington Food Hub and the Southwest Washington Grain Pool — according to Growers Cooperative General Manager Jake Fay. 

Fay is also the Southwest Washington regional director for the Northwest Agriculture Business Center, which is loaning his services to the growers cooperative. 

He explained the Food Hub gathers produce from local farmers and will use its portion of the building for packing, short-term storage and to aggregate products. 

It will continue to offer “multi-farm” produce boxes to consumers through a subscription plan along with selling produce wholesale to local schools and restaurants. The boxes cost $35, or $525 for the full season, with a weekly box provided from June 28 to Oct. 4 every year. 

To learn more about the boxes or sign up for next season, visit 

“Currently, the (Food Hub) operates out of a warehouse in the Port of Olympia, and this is a much better, centralized location for us and much better facility,” Fay said during a Sept. 14 Port of Chehalis commissioners meeting.  

As for the Grain Pool, Fay told the Port of Chehalis commissioners he has farmers handle and store grain and customers who will buy grain from farmers within the growers cooperative and then store it at the facility.

“Eventually, we’ll have another location to store grain,” Fay added. 

The Grain Pool’s fourth harvest was just completed on Sept. 15, Fay said in an email to The Chronicle, and the opening of the new storage facility couldn’t have come at a better time. 

“We got lucky this year, but had these September rains come at the beginning of the month, there would have been hundreds of thousands of dollars of lost revenue for local farmers due to the crop being damaged,” Fay said in an email. 

As for this year’s harvest, the Grain Pool planted 1,000 acres of malting barley and approximately 200 acres of wheat, according to preliminary harvest results provided by Fay. The harvest was the biggest the growers cooperative has had to date, Fay said. 

“The numbers below show that our barley acreage produced just over 2,400 tons of malting barley this year,” Fay said. “Our wheat acreage produced 200 tons.”

Barley grown by the Southwest Washington Grain Pool is split between thunder barley, the winter variety, and connect barley, the spring variety. This year’s harvest had mostly connect barley, accounting for 928 acres yielding 2,225 tons, according to preliminary harvest results. 

While the grain facility is still being completed, it will have the capacity to store roughly 4,000 acres worth of grain once finished, Fay said. He believes the grain facility will be pivotal for the local grain economy. 

Currently, farmers have to load their grain directly into railcars in the Port of Chehalis, but railcars are often delayed, sometimes by several days or even longer. 

“This prohibits farmers from harvesting when the crop is ready and prolongs the harvest of the crop,” Fay said.

He added this year’s barley harvest could have been completed three weeks earlier if they had a storage facility to account for railcar delays. 

Now, farmers can harvest as soon as their crops are ready and store the grain instead of trying to time their harvest with the railcars’ arrival. 

As for the lease, it is a three-year deal ending on Sept. 30, 2026. The Southwest Washington Growers Cooperative will pay $2,850 per month in rent, along with a state-required leasehold tax set at 12.84% of the lease rent rate. 

The Southwest Washington Growers Cooperative currently has more than 20 members, according to its website. For more information and to get in contact with the growers cooperative, visit 

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New grain storage facility and food hub now open on Port of Chehalis land | The Daily Chronicle

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