After more than three years, an investment of $6 million and thousands of hours of management time, North Dakota Soybean Processors (NDSP) recently announced that it is abandoning efforts to build a large-scale soybean crushing facility at the Spiritwood Energy Park Assn. (SEPA) in Spiritwood, N.D.
“We made every effort to build the first farmer-owned soybean crush plant in the state of North Dakota at the Spiritwood Energy Park site,” Minnesota farmer and NDSP president Bruce Hill said. “We had the site and plant engineering completed, construction contract bids solicited, the air permit in hand and we had assembled commitments and term sheets with producer partnerships and debt financing totaling over [$278 million] to fully fund the project when the SEPA board voted last July to terminate our site contract to construct the first farmer-owned soybean crush plant in the state at the Spiritwood Energy Park.”
Hill said the company went to court to try to build a plant at that site but recently dismissed the lawsuit with prejudice, meaning its bid to build a plant at the Spiritwood site is over.
“We are not done in our efforts,” Hill stated. “Our plant and site engineering is portable, and our air permit can be amended, and we intend to move forward with our efforts to bring the first farmer-owned soybean crush plant to the state of North Dakota. It just won’t be at Spiritwood.”
NDSP is currently a wholly owned subsidiary of Minnesota Soybean Processors, a Minnesota cooperative with 2,300-plus farmer-members residing in more than five states. The co-op owns and operates a large-scale soybean crush and feed and biodiesel production facility in southwestern Minnesota -- one of only a handful of direct, farmer-owned soybean crush facilities in the U.S.
When completed, the NDSP soybean crush facility would support an estimated 60 jobs in the region and would annually crush 42 million bu. of locally grown soybeans to produce approximately 935,000 tons of soybean meal and 475 million lb. of soybean oil for sale into domestic and export animal feed and soybean oil markets, including with respect to the soybean oil serving as a renewable feedstock for planned or existing renewable diesel refinery facilities in North Dakota and throughout the western U.S.