Cargill Inc has updated and expanded its soybean processing plant in western Ohio to meet growing demand for food, feed and renewable energy products.
The additions to the Sidney, Ohio facility and refinery came online in September and nearly doubled the previous crush capacity, providing greater market opportunities for nearby farmers and feed customers. The $225 million expansion also improves the on-site user experience, Cargill said, including faster and more efficient unloading times for soy products.
The renovations allow Cargill to source beans from farmers more than 50 miles away from the plant, up from the previous 30-mile radius. The project is among several that Cargill is doing to update and increase North American oilseeds capacity as the Biden administration pours billions of dollars into renewable and clean energy projects to combat the climate crisis.
Strong demand for renewable diesel made from soybean oil is driving sales growth and expansion phases for U.S. processors.
At least 23 new facilities or plant expansions were announced at the end of last year, according to the American Soybean Association, which would increase crush capacity by 34%.
In 2021, Cargill committed to investing $475 million in U.S. projects to improve operations and increase capacity across its soy processing facilities. It has also made strategic investments to meet growing demand for feedstocks used in renewable fuel, including the acquisition of Owensboro Grain Company and the construction of a canola plant in Canada.
The decision to invest in Sidney, Ohio was driven by strong local market factors, such as soybean production and soybean meal demand, Cargill said. Expansion plans were initially announced in 2019, but operations continued throughout construction, slowing the process.
“We’re proud to make this investment at our Sidney facility. We’ve been in business for 45 years here, and we appreciate the long-standing relationships with local farmers, food and feed customers, and the local community,” Justin Rismiller, U.S. crush soy commercial leader for Cargill, said in a statement.
Soybeans are the leading agricultural product in Ohio, where more than 26,000 soybean farmers are located.
In addition to Cargill’s plans, the Louis Dreyfus Company recently said it would begin construction on a soybean processing plant in Upper Sandusky, Ohio next year, adding 1.5 million metric tons of crush capacity to the state.
Cargill’s soybean plant shares its location with a food grade oil refinery and packaging plant, and the expanded capacity allows for further site integration to better serve the food sector.
The crush facility first opened in 1978 and the refinery was added a decade later.