New soybean processing plant to be operational by fall ‘25
Another hurdle has been cleared in progress on the new soybean processing plant near Mitchell. The latest advancement toward making the Mitchell plant a reality, according to Tom Kersting, president and CEO of the new plant’s owner, South Dakota Soybean Processors, was securing financing from a bank and finalizing an agreement with a larger investment partner. “That took place here recently and we’re full steam ahead now,” said Kersting, who refers to the new, larger plant at Mitchell as South Dakota Soybean Processors’ next phase in growth. “It’s a very large project,” he said. “It’s a plant which is bigger than the Volga plant. Because of it, that size and the expense in building it, we had to set it up as a separate company in order to allow us to attract some of the larger investors. So, it is another soybean processing plant but it also has capabilities to do other things, such as high oil content seeds, things like sunflowers, camelina, canola, that kind of thing.”
South Dakota Soybean Processors was founded in 1993 to provide South Dakota’s first producer-owned soybean processing plant. “The plant began production in 1996,” said Kersting, referring to the original facility at Volga, South Dakota. “It’s been expanded a number of times over the years. And then we added a second plant out near Miller, South Dakota back in 2015.”
To give the plants’ capacities perspective, Kersting explained that the Volga plant has a daily crush capacity of 85,000 bushels. “This plant at Mitchell will start out at 100,000 bushels a day, and then on up from a soft seed perspective, some things like that, it’ll be at well over a million tons annually as far as what it will use.” The new plant has the capability to process other oil seeds. Kersting explains that the plant will be able to process either soybeans or other oilseeds, but not at the same time. “We’ll be doing campaigns of soybeans and then campaigns of sunflowers, things like that. So right around 35 million bushels annually will be the demand from a soybean perspective down there at Mitchell.”
The Mitchell plant will take two years to complete, so by Kersting’s estimate, the new plant will be operational by the fall of 2025.
“The thing we like about Mitchell is from a procurement, transportation [standpoint]. It’s right off the I-90 corridor; it’s just south of I-90 on Highway 37. It’s on the main line Burlington Northern Sante Fe Railroad, so we’ve got an excellent location from a logistical standpoint,” said Kersting. “We can source those new crops from the west, but we’re still right in the heart of corn and soybean production as well, so we really, really like the location down there.”