September 21, 2023
Patty Kieburtz
Port of Whitman Awarded $1.6 Million CERB Loan for Central Ferry Utilities Extension Project

Rail and water infrastructure will support new fertilizer manufacturing facility

DAYTON — Today, the Port of Whitman County was awarded a $1.6 million low-interest loan from the Washington State Community Economic Revitalization Board (CERB) to expand rail and water infrastructure to a vacant lot on the Port’s Central Ferry site to support the private development of a fertilizer manufacturing and distribution facility.

The lot designated for the project is approximately 11 acres and located on the port’s southeastern end adjacent to the lower Snake River. Planned infrastructure expansions supported by the CERB loan include an extension of the property’s Port-owned rail lead and installation of a well. The loan will cover the permitting, engineering and construction of the public utility infrastructure, which is anticipated to be completed in early summer 2024.

The Port submitted the CERB loan application with committed private partner Agrow Solutions after a corresponding resolution was approved by the Port of Whitman Board of Commissioners March 16. Agrow Solutions plans to invest $2.5 million for the development of a new fertilizer manufacturing and distribution facility on the lot. The company approached the Port in late 2022 to discuss expanding the Agrow Solutions facilities to the Port of Central Ferry property; it was determined by Agrow Solutions that rail and water service was critical to do business at the location. 

Pullman-based Agrow Solutions provides crop consulting and custom fertilizer blends to famers in the Palouse region. The company has reached capacity at its flagship facility and seeks additional space to conduct fertilizer mixing and distributing practices to best meet the demands of local farmers. The planned facility is anticipated to create seven jobs upon construction completion next summer. The rail and water utility infrastructure added through the CERB loan will allow Agrow Solutions to bring bulk quantities of fertilizer to the Central Ferry location, mix personalized fertilizer packages and move the product to market. 

“Adding rail and water to the Central Ferry site is an important step in bringing custom fertilizer blends to local farmers at a larger scale,” Agrow Solutions Owner Ben Moehrle said. “We’re excited to partner with the Port of Whitman County for Agrow Solutions’ next chapter.” 

Construction on the public rail and water infrastructure is anticipated to begin in early 2024 pending engineering design and construction bid collection and selection. 

In addition to its private investment of $2.5 million in the facility, Agrow Solutions is providing the required $400,000 match for the public infrastructure project. The public infrastructure project, including engineering, fees, contingency and construction, is expected to total $2 million.


About the Port of Whitman County

The Port of Whitman County is dedicated to improving the quality of life for all citizens of Whitman County through industrial real estate development, preservation of multimodal transportation, facilitation of economic development and provision of on-water recreational opportunities.