Cargill to rebuild, expand N.D. oilseed plant

A U.S. destination for Prairie canola, sunflower and flax since 1980 is scheduled for a reboot from the ground up.

Agrifood firm Cargill on Tuesday announced plans to rebuild and expand its oilseed processing plant at West Fargo, N.D., with construction expected to start later this fall.

Completion of the engineering plans is to determine the project’s exact costs, expected to total over US$50 million, the company said. The rebuilt plant is expected to be open in time for the 2013 harvest.

“The existing facility has served us well since we built it 30 years ago, and we are now looking at rebuilding it to meet the needs of our customers for the next 30 years,” facility manager Jaysen Schock said in the company’s release.

“While the total number of full-time jobs of 83 may not change much after the rebuild, the project will keep the facility as a viable business many years ahead,” he added.

The facility processes canola and sunflower seeds into edible oil for the processing and foodservice sectors, and flaxseed for industrial-grade linseed oil. It also processes protein meal for animal feed.

“Through this project, we will modestly increase sunflower and flaxseed processing, plus significantly increase our production of canola oil,” Schock said, though he didn’t provide specific numbers on the new plant’s planned capacity.

The processing done at West Fargo plays a “crucial role” in the North American oilseed market, he said.

The Cargill plant has also drawn kudos for its use of landfill methane since 2002, supplying about a third of its thermal energy needs. The larger adjacent city of Fargo supplies methane to the plant through a 2.4-km pipeline from its landfill.

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