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ADM to crush soybeans in North Dakota

Former Cargill Malt plant to be redeveloped


A former malt processing plant in eastern North Dakota is set to be the site of the state’s first soybean crushing plant.

U.S. ag processor ADM, the ‘A’ of the four ‘ABCD’ companies that dominate global grain trading, announced Monday it will spend about US$350 million to develop a dedicated soybean crush plant and refinery at Spiritwood, N.D., about 130 km west of Fargo.

The plant, which is expected to be complete before the 2023 harvest, is to feature “state-of-the-art” automation technology, with crush capacity for up to 150,000 bushels (4,082 tonnes) of soybeans per day.

ADM, in its release Monday, didn’t say exactly where it will set up the plant, but John Hoeven, the senior U.S. senator for North Dakota, said in a separate statement Monday that the plant will be a redevelopment of “the former barley malting facility” at Spiritwood’s Energy Park.

That’s a reference to the former Cargill Malt processing plant, which the ‘C’ of the ‘ABCD’ group shut permanently in 2018, shortly before selling its malt business to major Belgian maltster Boortmalt.

Hoeven’s statement said he “met with key leaders from ADM over two years” to redevelop the site.

“Strategically located in a major soybean producing area, ADM’s global logistics network will enable the facility to access both domestic and global markets for soybean oil and meal,” ADM said in its release.

Also, the plant “allows us to partner with North Dakota farmers to further advance the role of agriculture in addressing climate change through the production of low carbon feedstocks for products such as renewable diesel,” Greg Morris, president of ADM’s Ag Services and Oilseeds business, said in the same release.

The plant also “will be a real benefit to North Dakota soybean producers, reducing their transportation costs and adding value to their product,” Hoeven’s statement said.

According to Governor Doug Burgum, North Dakota was the ninth-biggest soybean-growing state in 2020, at over 190 million bushels, according to the U.S. National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Cass County, N.D. was the nation’s top soybean producing county “as recently as 2018,” Burgum’s statement said. Richland and Barnes counties have been in the top 20 in recent years, he said, as has Stutsman County, which includes Spiritwood.

Manitoba, whose southern border is about 260 km north of the site, is estimated to have grown about 1.16 million tonnes (42 million bushels) of soybeans in 2020, or about 18 per cent of Canada’s total production last year.

ADM’s plan isn’t the first such facility proposed for Spiritwood, where Minnesota Soybean Processors and its North Dakota Soybean Processors subsidiary said in 2017 they would build a US$240 million crush plant.

But the soy growers’ co-operatives announced early last year they had walked away from that project.

Chicago-based ADM also said Monday it will put up about US$25 million to expand refining and storage capacity at its crush and refining plant at Quincy, Illinois, about 200 km north of St. Louis, by the first quarter of 2022.

That expansion, ADM said, “will fully align the location’s refining capabilities with its crush capacity and allow for greater flexibility in meeting the needs of ADM’s food, biofuel and industrial customers.” — Glacier FarmMedia Network

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