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Perdue plant set to process soybeans in fall of 2017
By DOROTHY NOBLE
GRANTVILLE, Pa. (Nov. 8, 2016) — Construction has begun on the Perdue AgriBusiness LLC soybean processing plant in Lancaster County, Pa.
Richard Cole, director of Pennsylvania origination, told attendees at a session of the 2016 Keystone Crops and Soils Conference on Oct. 26 that the plant should be ready for their fall 2017 soybean harvest.
On May 5, 2016, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection issued an Air Quality Plan Approval which authorized Perdue to construct a soybean processing plant in Conoy Township.
The plant, near Marietta, Pa., adjacent to the Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority’s waste-to-energy facility, will use steam from LCSWMA to power the plant.
Cole said Pennsylvania’s soybean growers send most of their beans out of the state, yet Pennsylvania’s dairy and livestock producers import soybean meal. Perdue AgriBusiness data report the state’s animal industries consume more than 1 million tons of soybean meal — equivalent to 44 million bushels of soybeans.
Pennsylvania growers produced 29.6 million bushels of soybeans in 2014. The state’s current plants process 10 to 12 million bushels per year, meeting only a third of the soybean meal demanded in the state.
Shipping beans out of the state and transporting meal into the state incur costs each way.
Cole also noted that Pennsylvania soybean growers generally have a higher corn to soybean ratio in crop rotations than Indiana, Iowa, and notably Maryland and Ohio. Consequently, Pennsylvania farmers could potentially produce more soybeans.
The new plant will process 17.5 million bushels of soybeans per year. A typical 60-lb. bushel will yield 75 percent meal, 17 percent oil and 8 percent hulls. The plant will have a storage capacity of 1.5 million bushels.
The protein profile of soybeans produced in this region is consistently higher than those grown in the Midwest.
“The company will forward contract and cash contract, and will sometimes contract two years in advance,” Cole said.
Cole showed the growers the 100-mile radius of the plant. Pennsylvania’s top soybean production acreage lies in the heart of it. It also includes northern and western Maryland, plus parts of Delaware and New Jersey.
There are markets for organic soybeans. Because organic beans must be kept separate, they are tested and specialized plants process them. They do enjoy a price differential; this year organic beans were double that of conventional.
Cole said, “Non-GMO beans at this point do not receive a price premium because there is not a specific demand at this time in our area.”