River Country Journal
Celebrating and Nurturing Life in Southwest Michigan's River Country

All Stories

April 24, 2013

DOVE Ag Services, Inc. announces plans for a new large agriculture fertilizer storage facility

[Three Rivers, MI]    DOVE Ag Services, Inc., a locally-owned full-service agricultural company, based in Union City, Michigan plans to purchase the property which once housed the old Essex Wire facility off of Broadway Street in Three Rivers, MI.  Once the property is purchased, DOVE Ag Services Inc. aims at constructing a state of the art 2 million gallon tank to store UAN. This liquid fertilizer solution has a nitrogen content that ranges from 28 percent to 32 percent.

In light of the recent accident in the City of West, Texas, DOVE Ag Services feels it is important to assure the surrounding residents that this state-of-the-art facility design focuses on safety to the employees, residents, and the environment.  The products which have been reported as being the source of the event are not part of the plan for this facility.

The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) has given UAN a flammability rating of zero.  UAN material does not burn.  Additionally, UAN is not considered a hazardous waste under Federal Hazardous Waste Regulations, and is not listed as a hazardous material by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), Transport Canada (TC) and the United Nations (UN).

The owners of DOVE Ag Services, Jon and Sandy Silsby, of Vicksburg, Michigan, want the residents of Three Rivers and the surrounding area to know that the product which will be handled at this facility are the safest forms of nitrogen that are available to farmers and UAN has no known ability to cause an explosion or fire. Customer support is provided in the form of seminars which are conducted on a regular basis throughout the year wherein all stake holders are invited to discuss and enhance safety measures for handling chemicals.  We work closely with local, state and federal agencies to operate the facilities we are involved with in a very safe, common sense approach.  We have and will continue to provide the Three Rivers, Michigan officials with the safety data on the products which may be stored at this facility.

Additional information regarding DOVE Ag Services, Inc. may be found on its website www.doveagservices.com.

Source:  News release from DOVE Ag Services, Inc. provided to the River Country Journal by Three Rivers City Manager Joe Bippus with the following message:


The City of Three Rivers is considering selling a portion of the former Essex Wire property to Dove Ag services.  We are working on a development agreement that will stipulate the improvements that will be made to the property and limit what products can be stored there.  In the wake of the Texas fertilizer plant incident it is prudent to share the differences in what is being proposed for Three Rivers.


Joseph A. Bippus
City Manager,
City of Three Rivers

Editor’s Note:  For additional information regarding City of Three Rivers consideration of the facility proposed by DOVE Ag Services, Inc., click on the following link to a River Country Journal story from the Three Rivers City Commission meeting on April 2, 2013: Three Rivers City Commission hears plans for new facility on west end of former Essex Wire property



  1. oambitiousone

    So glad you addressed these issues, Bruce. You’re better than the newspaper at addressing reader concerns!

  2. Anna Smith

    The fertilizer facility located in West, Texas was not a production plant but a retail facility selling to area farmers. West Fertilizer Co., after being fined by the EPA in 2006 for not keeping up to federal standards, vowed to meet standards for its ammonia storage tanks including daily in-house inspections and water-spray systems in case of accidental releases. They thought an explosion was impossible and the worse case scenario would be a 10 minute release of ammonia gas that would kill or injure no one.
    Since 1921 there gave been 16 unintended explosions of ammonium nitrate with 6 in the US. OSHA has oversight but tends to be understaffed and inspections are relatively infrequent.
    (This information is from washingtonpost.com/blog 04/18/13).
    Ammonium nitrate can explode and had been used to make bombs (Oklahoma City 1995, Timothy VcVeigh combined it with fuel oil to blow up federal offices) according to Dan Charles, NPR April 20, 2013.
    We are always reading about robberies of liquid fertilizers by meth makers/users. They are not careful about how they leave the tanks after they get what they want. One 2 million gallon tank, three 30,000 gallon tanks and five 5,000 gallon tanks equal a lot of fertilizer to fuel their habit.
    I guess I wonder how safe this will be for our City and the environment when we have one of those unintended accidents.

  3. Kirstin VG-R

    John Silsby said in the April 2 city commission meeting that the facility will have “card access where our truckers or farmers could come in 24/7 and access it similar to a fuel stop.” Has DOVE or the city released any information on the relationship between the chemicals they will be storing on the property and meth production, especially given the 24-hour card access?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>