The Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board and the Wisconsin Soybean Association are cautiously cheering the news that CHS is considering Evansville, Wis., for a proposed 70-million-bushel oilseed processing facility.
According to CHS officials, Evansville is among several sites being considered to expand its soy processing capabilities.
“We’re excited about the news that CHS is exploring building a soybean crushing and oil processing facility in Wisconsin,” said Patrick Mullooly, chair of WSMB. “The Marketing Board funded a feasibility study this year, and we know Wisconsin has ample soybeans to support a project like this.”
CHS held a neighborhood informational meeting Monday at the Creekside Community Center in Evansville. The proposed plant, to be built on a 300-acre site southeast of Evansville, could create approximately 90 jobs, but several milestones have to be reached before the plan would be put in front of the CHS Board of Directors for approval.
CHS representatives answered concerns from the public regarding air quality, noise, traffic, and odors. Many of the concerns would be addressed with the site layout and the buffer between the city of Evansville and the crush facility.
“We will be compliant with all state and federal regulations,” said CHS Representative Jim Graham. “We’re not just here to be a crush plant, we’re here to be part of the community,” he added.
WSA President Sara Stelter welcomed the news from the meeting.
“Wisconsin has been a crushing desert for many years,” Stelter said. “Wisconsin produces more than 100 million bushels of soybeans a year. We’re thankful CHS is exploring Evansville among the potential sites.”
Soybean meal is a protein-rich staple in livestock feed. According to the United Soybean Board, poultry consumes a majority of the U.S. soybean meal demand at 61%. Swine and dairy are the next largest consumers of soymeal at 17% and 14.5% respectively.
In Wisconsin, according to the Soymeal Info Center, most soybean meal (669.3 thousand tons) is fed primarily to dairy cows (384.4 thousand tons), followed by broilers (112.9 thousand tons) and egg-laying hens (58.2 thousand tons).
Evansville, in Rock County, was selected as a potential site due to access to infrastructure and soybeans. Rock County is the top producer of soybeans in the state, harvesting 6 million bushels of soybeans.
“We look forward to being strong industry partners as this process moves along,” Mullooly said. “There is a clear need for soybean processing in Wisconsin, and a facility like this would go a long way to alleviating some of the pressure and costs of getting soybeans to market.”