The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Progress 2012

April 7, 2012

business isn’t drying up ...

W.B. Johnston Grain finding new ways to diversify its business

ENID — The 2011 drought might have driven a different agribusiness into the red, but this Enid grain company reached into its diversified war chest and continued to stay on top of its game.

W.B. Johnston Grain, 411 W. Chestnut, found a niche in the oil field market by offering a service others do not: storing and handling fracturing sand — a fine sand used in drilling to hold open a fracture in the rock so oil and gas can flow through.

Oklahoma’s largest privately owned grain elevator business, Johnston Grain operates 20 elevators in Oklahoma and Texas. It also operates five ports in Louisiana, West Virginia and Oklahoma. The company provides year-round employment to 300 and seasonal employment to about 60 more.

Using company assets to handle the oil field supply meant no employees had to be let go when the volume of grain flowing through the company went down because of the drought, company president Butch Meibergen said.

“Last year’s drought was just devastating, so you look to use your assets somewhere else,” Meibergen said.

Meibergen credits the vice president of the company — his son Joey — with the creative thinking that resulted in the frac sand accounts.

Drillers often incur additional charges for keeping a rail car loaded with frac sand longer than the railroad wants the car detained. Storing it at Johnston Grain means releasing the rail car in a timely fashion and avoiding being hit with those extra charges, Butch Meibergen explained.

“Our customers’ trucks come to our facility to pick up their sand,” Joey Meibergen said.

Additionally, Johnston Grain is handling drilling mud and pipe for their oil field customers. The company also is expanding by developing a new port east of Tulsa.

“There’s always something different to handle, whether it’s at the river or off the rail system,” Butch Meibergen said. “We look at these industrial demands.”

Handling wind turbines is another possibility Johnston Grain is exploring, Joey Meibergen said.

Meanwhile, back to the company’s stock in trade, Butch Meibergen said this year’s growing crop looks excellent.

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Progress 2012
  • onlineheader.jpg 2012 ON THE HORIZON

    The News & Eagle puts out an annual progress edition. This year's 2012 On the Horizon focuses on developments now and in the future. The stories in text format are available by scrolling down this page.

    Links to pdf format: Economic Development I Health and Wellness I Education I Northwest Oklahoma I Family I Faith I Agriculture and Energy I Community Service

     

    February 18, 2012 1 Photo

  • cover.jpg Community Service

    Enid News & Eagle's 2012 On the Horizon edition concludes with the role of community service.

    Click HERE for text version of the stories.

    Click HERE for pdf version of the edition.

    April 15, 2012 1 Photo

  • Chisholm vs Okeene_6_BV.jpg Chisholm seeks consistency

    August 19, 2012 1 Photo

  • Karen Vanover_Bass Hospital Volunteer_2_BV.jpg A positive interaction

    Karen Vanover and A.Z. Callicoat are past volunteers of the year at their respective hospitals, Vanover at Integris Bass Baptist Health Center and Callicoat at St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center.

    April 14, 2012 2 Photos

  • Sandbox Learning Center_Ella Mae Loggins_BV.jpg Foster Grandparents: The solver of all problems

    “It’s something to get up for in the morning." — Foster Grandparent Ella Loggins

    April 14, 2012 2 Photos

  • Hedges_Carmen Ball_3_BV.jpg Hear this

    Hedges is committed to improving communications skills for those in need in northwest Oklahoma.
    Executive Director Carmen Ball said Hedges is the only full-service speech and hearing center in northwest Oklahoma.

    April 14, 2012 3 Photos

  • Stephanie Ezzell_BV.jpg Doing their part for the community

    Stephanie Ezzell is active in the community in a number of capacities, including the popular Farmers Market, on the southeast corner of Grand and Garriott.

    April 14, 2012 1 Photo

  • Keepin' Enid Green_1_BV.jpg Sorting out the service

    The curbside recycling business began after Chris Feeney of Oklahoma Employment Securities’ Material Recovery, a recycling venture, repeatedly was asked why the option wasn’t available.

    April 14, 2012 2 Photos

  • ESL_Emmanuel Baptist Church_4_BV.jpg Learning the language

    Volunteers at Emmanuel Baptist Church stepped up to fill that gap with free ESL instruction last January, and now they have hopes of expanding the program to better serve the community.

    April 14, 2012 3 Photos

  • First Presbyterian Church Mentoring_1_BV.jpg Tutoring joy

    Each Wednesday after school, church members pick up students — there are 23 in this year’s group — and take them to the church building for a snack, some fun and plenty of homework help.

    April 14, 2012 3 Photos