History - About Us

Hanson Silo was founded in Lake Lillian, Minnesota, in 1916 by Emil Hanson, a local farmer who envisioned a better silo product for himself and for his neighbors. His goal: manufacture an improved silo at the best price with the lowest upkeep. For over 100 years and through four generations, the Hanson family has been involved with agriculture and has grown to symbolize quality, economy and dependability.

The family farming tradition has remained at Hanson Silo, as well as the commitment to producing the best quality product for the dollar. The development of new Hanson products is the culmination of this commitment. We excel in a range of areas, including livestock feed storage and handling equipment, grain storage, precast concrete products and powder coating industries. Fine quality materials, pride in personal workmanship and simplicity in engineering are the trademarks of Hanson Silo.

From our first silo built in 1916 that held 25 tons of feed to our 3.5-million-bushel grain storage bunkers of today, Hanson Silo has been resilient and steadfast, growing a network of customers and suppliers who have come to know and depend on our remarkable silos and agriculture products. We’re sure you’ll be talking Hanson – now, and for generations to come.


During World War I, Emil Hanson, a local farmer from Lake Lillian, Minnesota, was looking to purchase a silo for his farm and found an abundance of poorly constructed silos in the area. Emil noticed that the sand was full of dirt and clay, which resulted in poor concrete for the construction of these silos. Emil had the idea to create a more durable concrete using sand from the shore of Lake Kandiyohi, the lake his farm bordered. The product, which used a washed sand, is now used by concrete manufacturers around the world.


Demand skyrocketed for Hanson's new silo. Newell Hanson, Emil's son, designed and patented the first automatic silo stave machine, powered by gasoline, to increase production to meet market demand.


Newell saw problems with silo roofs being constructed of wood so he designed, patented and built machinery to manufacture the first steel dome silo roof. Before this, carpenters were building hip-style roofs for the tops of silos.

hanson silo dome roof

Farmers demanded a better way to dig their frozen silage to unload feed from silos. Willard and Newell Hanson invented and patented the first self-propelled frozen silage chopper.


Hanson Silo expanded their manufacturing plants to Southern Minnesota and Central Iowa.


Farmers demanded a machine that could not only dig loose frozen silage, but handle all different conditions of silage and do it year round. Willard and Newell developed their own surface drive silo unloader primarily for Hanson's customers.


Hanson's unloader had spread beyond their silo market area. Hanson responded by building a new manufacturing factory and established distributors and dealers throughout North America.


Hanson manufactured and constructed over 600 silos out of all 3 plants.


Hanson increased production on a new industrial strength silo stave by implementing a completely automated computer controlled concrete machine.


Hanson designed and built a golf car manufacturing plant called Shuttlecraft in Willmar, Minnesota, to diversify their product portfolio in the midst of the agriculture crisis of the '80s.


Hanson further expanded their silo unloader line.


Hanson built their first precast concrete plant.


Powder coat painting was implemented, opening the door into contract manufacturing. Truck beds, assembly-line automation equipment and electronic scoreboards for major sports complexes, among other products, were engineered and manufactured.


Hanson expanded their powder coating system from a 5-person manual moving line to the 10' x 10' x 40' batch booth and implemented a 14-gun computerized automatic spraying line. Hanson designed and built a computer controlled automated concrete batch plant. This world class plant could mix three yards of low slump 7,000psi ready mix in 90 seconds.