Plans to expand a large central crop store in the East Midlands have been boosted after a £1.5m Rural Development Programme grant was awarded to the scheme.

Woldgrain Storage is a not-for-profit cooperative near Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, and will use the East Midlands Development Agency funds to build 26,000 tonnes of new storage, doubling its capacity to over 50,000t. It also plans to improve the site’s drying, cleaning, sorting and grading facilities.

Work is expected to start this summer and be finished in early 2012.

Woldgrain chairman Richard Milligan-Manby said having more sophisticated crop storage and processing facilities in the region would “bring real cost benefits to farmers, because they will receive a better price per tonne for their grain and satisfy contracts they couldn’t enter into alone.

“It will be business as usual while the upgrade work gets under way, and I would like to reassure those farmers who use the existing facilities that we will keep disruption to a minimum,” he said.