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Soybean crushing plant planned:Minnesota Soybean Processors announces Spiritwood project

FARGO -- A 150-acre farm field near Spiritwood could be turned into a $240 million soybean crushing and processing plant by 2019, according to an announcement made by Bruce Hill, president of the Minnesota Soybean Processors.

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Gov. Doug Burgum, left, makes an announcement Tuesday about a soybean processing plant coming to Spiritwood with construction beginning later this year. Sitting from left is Minnesota Soybean Processors Board President Bruce Hill, North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring and Great River Energy Vice President Jon Brekke. John M. Steiner / The Sun

FARGO -- A 150-acre farm field near Spiritwood could be turned into a $240 million soybean crushing and processing plant by 2019, according to an announcement made by Bruce Hill, president of the Minnesota Soybean Processors.

Hill told producers attending the Northern Soybean Expo in Fargo Tuesday that his organization was planning the construction of a soybean crushing and processing plant at Spiritwood beginning this spring. When complete, the plant will employ between 55 and 60 people.

MnSP is a cooperative headquartered at Brewster, Minn. It will operate the Spiritwood plant through a subsidiary named North Dakota Soybean Processors.

“North Dakota caught our attention with the expansion of the soybean crop,” Hill said.

Gov. Doug Burgum made the initial announcement Tuesday, saying the plant would crush about 125,000 bushels of soybeans per day. This translates to more than 42 million bushels per year.

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“That is over 20 percent of the North Dakota soybean crop that can be processed here,” he said.

Doug Goehring, North Dakota agriculture commissioner, said an additional market would boost prices for soybeans locally.

“This does so much for North Dakota farmers,” he said. “It adds more value to the bottom line.”

Goehring said North Dakota ranked second in the nation in the amount of whole soybeans exported from the state, The processing plant would allow the state to ship more valuable commodities of soymeal, vegetable oil and biodiesel fuel.

The planned plant would be the first in North Dakota built specifically to process soybeans. A canola crushing plant at Velva and a sunflower crushing plant at Enderlin have the capacity to crush soybeans, but soybeans are not the primary product of the plants.

Sen. Terry Wanzek, R-Jamestown, said the effect on prices for soybeans could be similar to the effect Dakota Spirit AgEnergy has had on local corn prices. He estimated at times, DSA boosted local corn prices by as much as 50 cents per bushel.

This processing plant will handle roughly four times the amount of soybeans grown in Stutsman County, Wanzek said.

“We should see an improvement in prices,” he said.

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The benefits could extend beyond soybean farmers. The plant will produce 900,000 tons of soymeal, and 490 million pounds of oil. About half of the soyoil produced will be processed into biodiesel with the remaining used as food-grade soybean oil, according to a press release announcing the plant.

The soymeal produced at the plant can be used as livestock feed, said Tyler Speich, chairman of the North Dakota Soybean Council.

The plant site will be south of the Dakota Spirit AgEnergy plant and adjacent to the Spiritwood Energy Park Association rail loop. Additional rail will be added to the loop to serve the soybean crushing plant. Construction details and cost shares will be determined by the SEPA Board of Directors.

The plant will also utilize steam energy from Great River Energy’s Spiritwood Station, according to Jon Brekke, GRE vice president and chief marketing officer.

“We are proud to be a part of SEPA,” he said. “This adds value to agriculture and energy. We are getting the maximum value from the coal in steam energy and electricity.”

Burgum said MnSP is continuing to conduct feasibility and design testing for the project but felt confident enough to announce the project.

If the project continues, construction could start this spring, according to Scott Austin, general manager of MnSP. The construction process could take about 24 months but receiving and storage facilities could be ready by the fall of 2018.

“The plant will have a great effect on the economy of the area,” Austin said.

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Local officials attending the announcement said the project fits with the community’s development goals.

“This certainly is exciting news,” said Jamestown Mayor Katie Andersen. “It is exactly the vision we hoped for coming to fruition.”

Burgum said bringing a new business of this size to the area is a competition.

“We competed as a state for capital and jobs,” he said, referring to the capital investment in the plant and the jobs it will bring to Stutsman County. “We hustled and we won.

Related Topics: SPIRITWOODAGRICULTURE
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