The Wisconsin Soybean Association (WSA) is continuing its work on moving the needle forward for the proposed CHS oilseed processing plant.
On Jan. 11 in Madison, the Assembly Committee on Ways and Means held a public hearing on Assembly Bill 834, which would grant a one-time exemption to exceed limits for tax incremental financing (TIF) funding for the city of Evansville. This bill would assist with infrastructure costs related to the construction of the $700 million state-of-the-art soybean processing facility. On behalf of WSA’s 1,200 members, WSA Vice President Doug Rebout attended the hearing, testifying in favor of the bill and highlighting the importance this facility would have on soybean farmers around the state and the economic growth it would contribute to the region.
“It was a very positive hearing,” Rebout said. “The committee asked a lot of good questions of myself and others about the positive impacts a facility like this would have on Wisconsin. In fact, there were a few legislators who testified ahead of me and were asked questions that they deferred to me. So, it was great to be there to answer their questions on behalf of our members; it was really good publicity for WSA.”
Wisconsin soybean growers produce over 100 million bushels of soybeans yearly, with roughly 6 million of those bushels harvested in Rock County, where Evansville is located. The plant would increase the soybean processing capacity in Wisconsin by almost 50%, processing 70 million bushels annually.
“Even if you get a bump of 15 cents a bushel in price, that’s an extra million dollars going back into our economy here in Rock County,” said Rebout, who farms near Janesville.
Projects of this magnitude aren’t born overnight. They happen piece by piece, and WSA is dedicated to helping the proposed CHS facility come to fruition. This bill is just one of the many pieces that is needed to make it a reality. The authors of Assembly Bill 834 are optimistic that it could advance yet this legislative session.
“WSA is very appreciative of the authors for bringing this bill forward on behalf of Wisconsin soybean farmers, and to Chairman Macco for holding the hearing on this bill,” said WSA Manager of Programs Ryan Smith. “The proposed new facility will have a positive effect on the local economy, increase profits for soybean farmers and bring in soybean business from northern Illinois. It would be a game-changer for Wisconsin soybean growers.”