New oilseeds crushing plant opens in Utah

Soybeans in Utah?

New oilseeds crushing plant opens in Utah

Soybeans in Utah?

A few farmers have dappled in soybeans in the state in the past, but it hasn’t been a big crop option for them because there hasn’t been a major market for them until now.

Washakie Renewable Energy is opening a soybean and canola crushing plant in Plymouth, Utah. The company is hopeful regional farmers in Utah and Idaho will now consider soybeans and canola a viable crop option. “We have done some test crops in this area, and it turned out very successful,” says Jacob Kingston, CEO of WRE. “We want soybeans to be an option for a rotation crop in this area.”

WRE sent invitations to local farmers and ranchers in northern Utah and southern Idaho to an open house. “I wanted the farmers here so they can understand there are options for next year’s crop,” says Kingston.

The plant will start crushing by March and would like to buy local. It is estimated the plant will need 400,000 acres of farmland to keep operating at full capacity, according to Kingston.

“We wanted to get the word out to farmers that there will be a significant demand for soy,” says Scott Klimt, director of marketing. “We would love to buy it local before we go anywhere else.”

WRE is working hand in hand with local farmers to make a market for soybeans in Utah. Jared Stephens, operations manager at WRE, says they have planted several types of soybeans and are working to find the best variety of soybean seed for the area. WRE has plans to work with Utah State University to do additional research on soybeans.

Farmers and ranchers were able to sign up for a newsletter from the WRE plant. Stephens says the newsletter will include the information on varieties they find to work best, as well as information on the plant.

Local farmer Chris Allen, who has had to ship his canola to Canada, says he is happy about the new plant. “The more options the better,” says Allen.

Benefit farmers

The decision to build the crushing plant here in Utah made sense, Kingston says, because this is the area where the feed meal is used. There are three products produced from the crushing plant: soybean hulls that are crushed and made into high-fiber feed pellets, soybean meal (the crushed soybeans after oil extraction) that contains 48% protein, and the soybean oil.

The raw vegetable oil will go into biodiesel and the two types of feed will be sold to local farmers and ranchers. Kingston says they will be able to offer a feed that is 12 hours fresher than other feeds available right now. “That adds a lot of value to the feed,” says Kingston. According to WRE they will produce enough feed for 200,000 cows.

Founded in 2007 on the Kingston family ranch, WRE started as a biodiesel plant, turning used cooking oil into useful fuel. Recently, they have doubled the capacity of the plant by adding an additional production line. The addition of the crushing plant just makes sense, says Kingston. WRE plans to crush enough soybeans and canola to supply the biodiesel plant. “The idea here is synergy; we want to go from the grower to the consumer in all of our products,” says Kingston.

Bailey writes from Liberty, Utah.

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MAKING TRACKS: Jared Stephens, operations manager of Washakie Renewable Energy, is proud of the five lines of train tracks that WRE has built to transport crops to the crushing plant.

He said it

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“We are always looking for new high-quality feed to offer our customers, and the byproducts of this plant might be the ticket. The savings in shipping cost will benefit us and our customers.”

Lamar Clements, president,

Walton Feed West Inc.,

Cache Junction, Utah

He said it

2654.jpg

“I’m very happy about this plant. It provides another crop for us. I’m a dryland farmer so soybeans are not really my thing, but I will definitely try some canola. And if it works, we will put it into production. Anytime there is another market, it’s good for the growers.”

Chris Ravsten,

Weston, Idaho, farmer

This article published in the January, 2015 edition of WESTERN FARMER-STOCKMAN.

All rights reserved. Copyright Farm Progress Cos. 2015.

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