Birds cause power outage in Arkansas

Leigh Hahn-Kreimeier

Riceland Foods Inc. and Producers Rice Mill experienced a power outage last week that set back receiving operations for nearly four hours. All problems were resolved and the mills were back to full operation the next day.

“It was caused by birds getting in our industrial substation on east Hartz Seed Road,” said James Long, operation coordinator in Stuttgart. “It locked out the support, which provides power to Producers and Riceland and 10 to 12 customers on E. Harrison and E. Lincoln streets.”

During the busiest times for the mills, the power outage set back rice grain from being dumped at the facilities, leaving farmers to wait longer than usual.

“Obviously the power outage shut down our receiving ability for about four hours,” said Bill Reed, vice president of Corporate Communications and Public Affairs with Riceland Foods. “It pushed everything back.”

Reed said the plants shut down at about 8 p.m. Wednesday night instead of earlier in the evening, which would have allowed some farmers to get back into the fields.

It shut down the grain dryers, rice mill and soybean plants at Riceland, but operations are back up and running now.

Both heard rumors on the reason for shut down, but no sure answer.

“I was out of town, but we were down on dumping for about three hours,” said Keith Glover, president and CEO of Producers.

Producers experienced trucks being stuck on dumps during the outage since the hydraulics were up.

Producers received 341,000 bushels of green rice Wednesday, compared to the 484,000 Tuesday, so they lost an estimated 140,000 bushels of dumping time during the down time period.

Glover said the contact situation goes both ways for emergencies. Sometimes Entergy informs them of problems and then sometimes Producers will be the first to call.

“We have had outages before,” he said. “They [outages] happen and you do the best you can with them. We did have some elevator legs that got choked up, you have to open the boot to let the rice come out the bottom.”

Stuttgart Daily Leader