CARGILL recently announced that it will no longer process soybeans at its facility in Raleigh, N.C., starting later this spring.
The company said it will continue to operate the Raleigh elevator as a viable market for soybeans, purchasing soybeans from area producers and elevator customers.
"This is a difficult decision because we have an excellent team of employees in Raleigh, where we have been in business since 1985," said Don Camden, a regional manager for Cargill's soybean processing business.
Camden said the elevator at Raleigh will continue to be a competitive buyer of soybeans from farmers in North Carolina and surrounding states. Soybean meal customers will be served by Cargill's plant in Fayetteville, N.C., in addition to rail shipments into the region from other Cargill plants.
"In recent years, demand for U.S. soybean processing has become more variable and seasonally driven," said Mark Stonacek, president of Cargill Grain & Oilseed Supply Chain North America.
Among other factors, Stonacek cited a downturn in demand for U.S.-produced soybean meal in the face of expected large soybean crops in South America. In addition, strong global demand for U.S. whole soybeans made operating the Raleigh plant during the spring and summer periods economically challenging.
"Cargill will continue to monitor the global situation and will consider restarting the plant if conditions change," Stonacek added.
Cargill currently employs 47 people at the Raleigh facility. Camden said 20-25 employees associated with soybean processing will be laid off, although they can apply for openings at Cargill's 12 other crush plants.