Minnesota Soybean Processors intends to put a $240 million soybean crushing plant at Spiritwood, N.D., according to General Manager Scott Austin.

Through a press release sent out by North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum’s office, MSP said the plant would be the first of its kind in the state, crushing 125,000 bushels of soybeans each day and producing soybean meal, refined, bleached and deodorized soybean oil and biodiesel.

MSP, a cooperative in Brewster, Minn., already owns and operates a similar plant.

“It’s a fairly large (undertaking) for us,” Austin said. “It effectively doubles the size of the products and companies we manage and market. In terms of total production, it will be more than double what we do.”

The plant could mean 55-60 full-time jobs as well as supporting service companies in the local community. It would produce 900,000 tons of soybean meal annually and 490 million pounds of oil, half of which will be used for biodiesel.

Austin said North Dakota was a natural choice and Spiritwood made the most sense.

“The process grew out of a desire to grow the company here in Brewster and expand the plant here,” Austin said. “When we started going through the costs and engineering to do that here, we realized there were a lot more benefits going to a different location. And North Dakota being a location that has a lot of beans being grown and no real dedicated crush industry, the overall impact and longterm gain far outweighs the additional costs.”

Spiritwood is a great central location for locally grown soybeans, Austin said.

“Origin plants tend to work a little better,” Austin said. “We source all of our beans (in Brewster) within 75-100 miles of the plant, both off the farms and through elevators. It’ll probably be the same process going through North Dakota. There is a pretty developed elevator system there and a lot of local producers in the counties surrounding the plant there. We’ll probably encourage off-the-farm bushels from producers but also work closely with elevators as well.”

Austin said construction is set to begin by the end of summer and will last 20-24 months. He’s hopeful the plant will go online late summer of 2019.

“We’re very excited about this project,” Austin said. “The relationship we’ve developed in North Dakota both with the state and the people in Jamestown has made this project move very quickly and really eliminated a lot of the problems that you normally run into with a project like this. We’re very glad to be coming to North Dakota and very excited to be getting this project off the ground in the next 3-4 months.”

North Dakota is one of the fastest-rising soybean-producing states in the country, sitting fourth in the nation in production.

– Chris Aarhus, NDFU