The Andersons earns its daily bread on a mix of grains, trains, and corncobs. The agricultural company's main business -- the Grain & Ethanol Group -- consists of the buying, conditioning, and reselling of corn, soybeans, and wheat, which it acquires from US grain farmers and stores, using a system of elevators and terminals located in the Midwest. The company has six operating segments. Its segments comprise Grain, Ethanol, Plant Nutrient Group, the Retail Group, the Turf & Specialty Group, and the Rail Group. The Andersons has operations in 16 US states and Puerto Rico, as well as rail-leasing interests in Canada and Mexico.
The company's main agricultural operations are located in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Michigan. In total, it has a grain-storage capacity of about 350 million bushels. About 95% of the grain sold by the company in 2011 was purchased by US grain processors and feeders, and approximately 5% was exported (mainly to Canada).
Growing this business, in 2012 the company acquired 12 grain elevators in northwestern Iowa and western Tennessee from Green Plains Renewable Energy, for $133.1 million. Also, it acquired the assets of Mt. Pulaski Products, adding a pair of mills in Illinois and bolstering its cob supply. The two facilities are operated by The Andersons's Turf & Specialty Group
The Andersons jointly owns three ethanol facilities. It holds a 50% interest in The Andersons Albion Ethanol and a 38% interest in The Andersons Clymers Ethanol. It also holds a 50% interest (with Marathon Oil) in The Andersons Marathon Ethanol LLC. In all, the company has an ethanol manufacturing capacity of 275 million gallons.
The Plant Nutrient Group has farm centers located throughout Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, and Florida. The farm centers offer agricultural fertilizer, chemicals, seeds, supplies, and custom fertilizer application. The group also makes liquid anti-icers and deicers for use on roads and runways. It is now the company's second largest sales segment, having generated 15% of The Andersons' sales in 2011.
The Andersons' Retail Group runs large retail home-center stores that serve the Toledo and Columbus, Ohio areas. The stores sell home-improvement products, nursery stock, groceries, beverages, and other items. The Retail Group brought in about 3% of The Andersons' 2011 sales.
The Turf and Specialty operations of The Andersons, at 3% of 2011 sales, purchases, stores, formulates, manufactures and sells dry and liquid fertilizer to dealers and farmers; provides warehousing and services; and distributes seeds and various other farm supplies, such as corncobs that have been shredded into animal bedding, pet litter, and turf materials.
The company's Rail Group, at 3% of 2011 sales, sells, leases, repairs, and reconfigures railcars and locomotives. The group also provides fleet management services and operates a custom steel-fabrication business. The company also owns around a 50% stake in Iowa Northern Railway Company (IANR), a 163-mile short-line railroad, which runs through Iowa from northwest to southeast.