U.S. soy grower co-op plans North Dakota crush plant

A U.S. soybean growers’ co-operative has picked its site for what it says would be the first soybean processing plant of its kind in North Dakota.

Minnesota Soybean Processors and its North Dakota Soybean Processors (NDSP) subsidiary announced Tuesday their site will be on 150 acres near Spiritwood, N.D., 260 km south of the Manitoba border and about 140 km west of Fargo.

The co-operative, which already runs a soy crush and biodiesel processing plant at Brewster, Minn., about 110 km east of Sioux Falls, S.D., said it would move forward with construction pending “further due diligence, necessary approvals and a successful engineering study.”

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The co-op, which began crushing beans at Brewster in 2003 and added the biodiesel operation in 2005, made its North Dakota site announcement during the Northern Soybean Expo and Trade Show in Fargo.

Choosing a location allows the co-op to move on to a preliminary front-end engineering and design study, which would go to determine “feasibility of construction.”

The co-op said it will work with the North Dakota Agricultural Products Utilization Commission to complete the feasibility study.

If built, at an estimated cost of US$240 million, the plant would be an integrated crush facility and refinery, processing 125,000 bushels of soybeans per day for soybean meal, refined, bleached and deodorized soybean oil and biodiesel.

“The potential for this type of value-added project is great news for our farmers and the entire state of North Dakota,” North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum said in the Minnesota co-op’s release.

“The NDSP plant will create value in the local community and beyond by creating 55 to 60 full-time jobs, supporting local service companies, vendors and suppliers and supporting the soybean price paid to local farmers.”

“Our preliminary market analysis shows there are markets this facility would serve that would complement our current efforts at the Brewster facility to reach both global and domestic markets for meal and oil,” Minnesota Soybean Processors general manager Scott Austin said in the same release.

“We also believe that the biodiesel from this plant would serve both domestic and international markets.”

The NDSP plant would produce about 900,000 tons of soybean meal per year and 490 million pounds of oil, the co-op said. Half the oil produced would go to biodiesel and the rest to food-grade soybean oil.

North Dakota’s northern neighbours have been boosting their soybean production for several years. Canada’s soybean growers booked an eighth consecutive year of record production in 2016, at an estimated 6.5 million tonnes nationwide.

Statistics Canada in December estimated Manitoba alone boosted its soybean production in 2016 by over 27 per cent from 2015 levels to 1.8 million tonnes, setting records for harvested acres (1.6 million) and average yield per acre (41.3 bushels). — AGCanada.com Network

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