North Dakota’s first-ever soybean crushing plant and refinery is open in Spiritwood

Published: Nov. 15, 2023 at 6:07 PM CST
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SPIRITWOOD, N.D. (KFYR) - The state’s first-ever soybean crushing plant and refinery is open in Spiritwood. The Green Bison Soybean processing plant will give producers an option to get their soybeans processed locally and has provided jobs for 75 people.

The plant has the capacity to process 150,000 bushels of North Dakota soybeans year-round for soybean meal and oil.

Archer Daniels Midland owns 75 percent of the plant and Marathon Petroleum owns the other 25 percent. The facility cost around $350 million to build. Construction started in June 2021.

In the past, farmers would take soybeans to elevators and then rely on export markets, so this gives farmers and elevators more local options.

“You ship it out to the Pacific Northwest, particularly to go to China is the main objective, anyway. When the tariffs went on, that was pretty devastating to the area here because the basis, the level, that we got for our grain locally here was really discounted because we had no crushing plants in the area,” said Michael Clemens, farmer.

He says not having to worry about freight being shipped overseas and markets in other countries is a huge relief.

“So that we don’t have to worry about the export market, that you’re just tied to that. You know, that’s been my philosophy for years is, add value to it, burn it up locally, feed it out locally,” said Clemens.

The local product will benefit the Marathon Refinery in Dickinson, too.

“Historically, 95 percent of the soybeans are exported out of the state in a railcar. So what we do in Spiritwood is we’ll add value to that soybean — not only will we be adding value to soybeans processed in Spiritwood, we’ll produce a refined soybean oil that’ll be sent to our partner within Marathon Petroleum to the Dickinson North Dakota facility,” said Mike Keller, president of Green Bison.

There the oil will be processed into renewable diesel.

The plant has already received soybeans and started processing them in October.