New Soybean Processing Plant Creating New Opportunities

Ostrem calls new plant ‘another opportunity for South Dakota soybeans to be raised and processed here’

South Dakota soybean growers will soon have access to greater processing capacity. “The South Dakota Soybean Processors (SDSP) have decided to create a new location just south of Mitchell, [South Dakota],” said Tim Ostrem, Chairman of the South Dakota Soybean Research and Promotion Council, the Checkoff arm of South Dakota Soybean. “We’re excited about that opportunity.”

The plan, added Ostrem, is to build a multi-seed processing plant that will begin operation in 2025. “You can use the soybean meal produced by this plant to feed the livestock around that area,” he said. “There’s going to be the opportunity of using that oil, making biodiesel, renewable diesel, and other products out of that.” The plant’s projected output also includes food-grade oil, and located as far west as it is, the facility will be well situated to process other high-oilseed crops such as sunflowers and camelina.

“This plant’s obviously being built in an area where there is not any processing currently, and the basis should improve in that area,” said Ostrem. “It’s a little further west than some of these other plants; it just creates a new opportunity for South Dakota Soybean [Processors] to grow and process these products in-state.”

To put the proposed plant’s capacity in perspective, Ostrem pointed out that in 2020, South Dakota soybean farmers produced 226 million bushels of soybeans. “This new plant is expected to crush 35 million bushels a year and will also open up the opportunity for 50 employees,” he said, “so it’s a real good avenue to create demand and also opportunities for employment for the people in that area.”

The plant, South Dakota Soybean Processors’ third, in addition to plants currently operating in Volga, South Dakota, and near Miller, South Dakota, will produce a corresponding amount of soybean meal and sunflower meal to serve the Mitchell area’s growing hog and dairy production, as well as helping to satisfy growing demand for soybean oil-based biofuels.

“We’ve been really focusing on creating new demand for the soybeans that we grow, because our acres keep increasing,” said Ostrem. “This offers another opportunity for South Dakota soybeans to be raised and processed here, and that’s exactly what we were hoping, to keep that revenue stream in-state.”