Lack of Soy Crushing Hurting Wisconsin Biodiesel

John Davis

SoybeansA lack of soybean crushing facilities could be hurting the biodiesel industry in Wisconsin. This article from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says no soybean crushing facilities of any meaningful size in the state means farmers have to send their beans out of state, where they’re more likely to be turned into value-added products, including the green fuel, meaning lost revenues for Badger State producers.

In response to a marketing board study in 2006, at least three soybean crushing plants were proposed, including an $80 million plant in Rock County that would have been built next to a biodiesel fuel facility…

Landmark Services Cooperative and investors wanted to build a plant in Evansville, known as the soybean capital of Wisconsin, with assistance from a $4 million state grant.

When developers canceled plans for the biodiesel facility that would have been next to the crushing plant, Landmark didn’t back down. But a short time later, a combination of collapsed financial markets and changes in commodity prices killed the deal…

One of the proposed crushing plants could have processed about 40% of the state’s soybean crop and was tied to biodiesel production, with farmers benefiting from soybean meal as livestock feed. Two smaller plants planned for 2007 and 2008 also would have been pegged for biofuels and animal feed.

“We came close, several times, to having someone build a crush plant,” [Mike Cerny, president of the Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board and a soybean farmer in Walworth Count] said.

State officials expressed support for a facility that would capture more of Wisconsin’s commodities’ value.

Biodiesel, Soybeans