In 1968, a small group of farmers developed plans for the forming of Hopkinsville Elevator as a cooperative. Approximately 180 investors proceeded to buy an existing grain facility to serve their needs. This facility had served the area for a number of years and had a capacity of 634,000 bushels. From this recent beginning the elevator had grown in membership to over 2300 patrons in 34 surrounding counties. The elevator system has a combined storage capacity of over 13,000,000 bushels with additional locations at South Union, Russellville, Casky and Guthrie in Kentucky and a barge loading facility at Clarksville, Tennessee. The elevator has now merged its farm supply business consisting of a fertilizer, chemical and seed department into a joint venture with Agri-Chem Inc., a similar locally owned company. Our largest addition came on line in 2004 with the addition of Commonwealth Agri-Energy, our 30,000,000 gallon/year ethanol plant. Furthermore, the cooperative recently formed HEC Crop Insurance which also adds to the full service nature of the cooperative. From the elevator's inception, we have strived to provide the services that the members require for the efficient operation of their business. To that end the elevator has provided patronage for over 42 years to the stockholders.
The following is a breakdown of the major steps undertaken in an attempt to keep pace with the fast changing scene of this area:
1968 Organized-Purchased 634,000 bushels existing elevator, including 2,000 bushel dryer.
1970 Built additional dump pit, added 3,000 bushels dryer and 215,000 bushel storage.
1975 Built concrete elevator with 352,000 bushel capacity, 3,000 bushel dryer, two high capacity dump pits and added to office.
1976 Added 507,000 bushel concrete annex
1977 Acquired Lilly Bros. Farm Supply business.
1979 Built 249,000 bushel capacity, high speed barge loading facility at Clarksville, Tennessee.
1983 Acquired 450,000 bushel river terminal formally owned by National Farmers Organization.
1991 Acquired 870,000 bushel elevator at South Union, Kentucky formerly Merchants Grain.
1993 Built 300,000 bushel additional storage space at river terminal.
1994 Acquired 547,000 bushel elevator at Russellville, Kentucky formerly owned by Cargill, Inc.
1994 Acquired 215 acres near Casky for train loading site.
1994 Added 325,000 storage, dump pit and leg, and rail scale at Russellville facility.
1995 Added 650,000 bushel storage, two high capacity legs with high capacity load out system at the Casky Branch.
1996 Added tower grain dryer and wet holding tank and equipment at the Casky Branch Location.
1997 Acquired 1,399,000 bushel elevator at Guthrie, Kentucky formerly owned by the Planters Grain Elevator Co., Inc.
1997 Acquired 15 acres near Guthrie for future expansion.
1998 Acquired 21.5 acres which represents the balance of the undeveloped tract near Guthrie.
1998 Added 350,000 bushel storage at Casky Branch.
1998 Purchased 50% of Agri-Chem, Inc., a farm supply business with outlets in Hopkinsville, Herndon, Trenton, and Princeton and a bulk liquid and dry fertilizer river terminal at Eddyville in Lyon County.
2000 Added 650,000 bushel storage at Casky Branch increasing the total company storage capacity to 7,765,000 bushels.
2000 The company fiscal year was changed back to April 30th.
2001 Constructed tunnel and installed reclaim conveyor at Guthrie, added new dump pit and purchased three adjoining acres at South Union.
2002 Added 400,000 bushels storage at South Union increasing total company storage capacity to 8,096,000.
2003 Invested in 94% ownership of Commonwealth Agri-Energy, LLC, a 20 million gallon per year fuel grade ethanol production plant. Began construction on the plant which was scheduled for completion March 1, 2004.
2004 Added 710,000 bushel storage space at Casky Branch increasing total company storage capacity to 8,806,000 bushels.
2004 Began operations at Commonwealth Agri-Energy, LLC on time and above name plate capacities.
2005 Constructing a 710,000 bushel storage at Casky which will increase total company owned grain storage capacity to 9,516,000 bushels.
2006 Constructed a 725,000 bushel storage bin at Casky and constructed a 500,000 bushel storage bin at South Union. Total company storage capacity increased to 10,813,000 bushels
2007 Purchased adjoining acres at Russellville . Constructed a 724,000 bushel storage bin at Casky bringing total company storage to 11,557,000 bushels capacity.
2008 Constructed a new 725,000 bushels storage bin at Casky increasing our capacity to 12,281,000
2009 Constructed a new 725,000 bushel storage bin at Casky increasing total company storage to 13,006,000
2010 Installed a new 7500 bushel per hour dryer & a 53,000 bushel wet tank at Casky. Installed (2) 210,000 bushel storage bins, receiving leg, pit and load out tank at Guthrie bringing their total storage capacity to 1,832,000 bushels.
2011 Added the last of (4) 725,000 bushel storage bins surrouding pit 4 at Casky. Doubled the cooperatives cleaning capacity by adding a new grain cleaner at South Union. We also added an additional 10,000 bushel per hour receiving leg and pit at South Union.
2012 HEC purchased the remaining 30% of Agri-Chem making it a 100% cooperative owned seed and supply service
2012 The Russellville Elevator and the South Union Elevator each gained an additional 500,000 bushel grain tank
2013 Our Planters Elevator added 2 more 210,000 bushel grain tanks, a 4700 bph tower dryer, a 25,000 bushel wet tank, a 15,000 bph receiving leg and dump pit, bring the overall cooperative grain storage to nearly 16,000,000 bushels