Krabbenhoft named SRSP’s director of operations

Biofuel industry veteran shares 5 ag leadership lessons.

August 12, 2021

4 Min Read
Krabbenhoft named SRSP’s director of operations

High performers attract other high performers, especially at Shell Rock Soy Processing (SRSP), which is recruiting top talent to lead the new organization. Biofuels industry veteran Garland Krabbenhoft has been named SRSP’s new director of operations.  

“I’m excited to work with SRSP, which is a classic example of the American dream and entrepreneurship in action,” said Krabbenhoft, who started Aug. 1.

Krabbenhoft calls SRSP his “third career,” since it builds on his military service in the U.S. Army and his vast experience in managing biorefineries in northeast Iowa.

“Garland has an impressive track record of improving processes to help plants run efficiently,” says Mike Kinley, chief executive officer of Mid-Iowa Cooperative (MIC), a developing partner of SRSP. “He also combines his vast engineering knowledge with an exceptional skill set for building great teams. His leadership of SRSP will be a tremendous asset to our local, rural communities.”

Krabbenhoft will help guide SRSP, a $270 million soybean-crushing plant that’s under construction at the Butler Logistics Park northwest of Shell Rock, Iowa. When operational in 2022, SRSP will crush 40 million bushels of soybeans annually, or 110,000 bushels daily.

As he helps SRSP grow, Krabbenhoft embraces five leadership skills:

  1. Leverage your strengths. Krabbenhoft grew up in western North Dakota in a region known for farming, ranching and the oil industry. He studied engineering at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in Rapid City and earned his master’s degree in civil engineering after serving eight years of active duty in the U.S. Army. Before joining SRSP, Krabbenhoft spent 14 years of his career at several biorefineries in Iowa, most recently serving as director of eastern plants and director of capital projects for Flint Hills Resources. “Farmers have been asking for an option like SRSP,” Krabbenhoft said. “This new plant will grow the local economy and help keep our rural communities strong.”

  2. Build a dynamic team. Job seekers have been reaching out to SRSP about employment opportunities. The plant will create 50 to 60 high-quality jobs, said Krabbenhoft, who served with U.S. Army Engineer units in Germany, Kosovo, Missouri, Alaska and Iraq and commanded an engineer company in combat. “Building a new team depends on balancing each person’s capabilities in a way that enhances the organization.”

  3. Embrace the art and science of leadership. The art of leadership involves listening to understand where people are coming from and empathizing with them, Krabbenhoft said. The science of leadership puts effective organizational structures in place to help people maximize their talents. Good communication drives it all. “It’s essential to explain not only the what, but the why, regarding the vision for an organization’s future,” Krabbenhoft said. “SRSP is creating a huge opportunity to boost the soybean industry in eastern Iowa, which will benefit Iowa’s economy for decades to come.”

  4. Give back. Community service is important to Krabbenhoft, his wife, Heather, and their four children. Krabbenhoft, a former Boy Scout leader and local church-council president. He and his family also support the Northeast Iowa Food Bank and Friends of the Family, an advocacy services organization for victims of domestic abuse, sexual assault, human trafficking and homelessness. “We believe it’s important to devote our time, talent and treasures to the things we value and pass on these values to our children,” said Krabbenhoft, whose second son recently received a four-year Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) scholarship.

  5. Adapt and overcome. Krabbenhoft appreciates hard-working farmers, rural entrepreneurs and innovators like those at SRSP who embrace a can-do attitude. “They know how to manage risk and produce more with the same amount of resources. They’re also willing to look at challenges and envision creative destruction, where you take what has worked in the past and combine this with new ideas to make things better. That’s what drives SRSP.”

When operational, SRSP will crush approximately 40 million bushels of soybeans annually, or 110,000 bushels daily. In addition to the soybean oil, SRSP will produce roughly 850,000 tons per year of soybean meal and hulls for livestock feed. SRSP will also produce soy oil that can be used for a variety of applications, including livestock feed, fuel and the human food industry. SRSP’s close proximity to the Iowa Northern Railway will allow rail cars to be unloaded with soybeans and loaded with soybean meal and soybean oil. SRSP will bring Butler County and surrounding areas into the center of the global ag economy while diversifying the local economy.


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