What’s this new project I’m hearing about by Shell Rock?
Shell Rock Soy Processing (SRSP), LLC, is a new soybean-crushing plant that will be built at the Butler Logistics Park northwest of Shell Rock, pending state and local approvals. It is a game changer that will propel value-added agriculture forward in Iowa.
When operational in 2022, this plant will crush over 30 million bushels of soybeans. This plant will supply both food and fuel needs. SRSP will be able to unload trucks quickly, saving farmers and truckers a great deal of time when they deliver soybeans to the plant. As it creates value-added marketing opportunities closer to home, SRSP will bring this region into the center of the global ag economy, with the potential to tap into the export markets.
Why are you building this plant in Butler County?
We were able to buy a sizeable area of land near the Butler Logistics Park, which offers convenient access to local highways and the Iowa Northern Railway. The shortline Iowa Northern Railway helps connect Iowa agricultural communities direct to the North American transportation network. Other businesses already located in the Butler Logistics Park include the Flint Hills Resources ethanol plant and TrinityRail Maintenance. While this region known for world-class agriculture, there’s a huge weakness in the current system. The average age of a soybean-crushing plant in the region today is 42 years. The service farmers receive from many of these antiquated plants is unacceptable, with waits as long as 3 to 6 hours. When you add up all the time and money wasted due to these antiquated processing plants, it totals roughly $6.5 million. SRSP is a great fit for this area and will create positive economic opportunities for decades to come.
Will there be a lot of odor with this plant?
No. SRSP is designed to foster responsible economic development, and we want to be a good neighbor. The most noticeable odor will be the smell from the toasting of the soybean meal, which is similar to toasting nuts or seeds on a stove.
Will this plant be noisy?
SRSP will not contribute to excessive noise pollution. It will have an ambient noise level consistent with other existing industrial operations within a mile of the plant.
Will the lights of this plant be a nuisance?
SRSP will have an ambient lighting level consistent with other existing industrial operations within a mile of the plant and will not be intrusive to the surrounding area.
Will this plant use a lot of water?
SRSP will use water efficiently. Potable water consumption for the plant is estimated at 3,600 gallons per day. Process water would equate to about 400,000 gallons per day. The City of Waverly, in comparison, pumps 975,000 gallons of water daily.
Will this plant be a safe facility?
Yes. SRSP will incorporate modern safety systems and protocols to benefit the employees and people who live in the area, while protecting the environment. The plant will use a solvent called hexane to extract oil from the soybeans. Hexane is used (with U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval) in many soybean crushing plants. Hexane is used only in the initial steps of soy processing, and virtually all of it is eliminated by the time the soy ingredients are incorporated into food and feed products.
How does this plant impact the farm economy?
SRSP allows our area to build on its strong agricultural heritage by adding more value locally to soybeans, which will be processed into soymeal and soy oil at the plant. The soymeal, for example, will benefit livestock producers. SRSP’s high-quality, 48 percent protein soymeal can be combined with soy hulls (which contain highly digestible fiber) to make pelleted cattle feed. Increasing demand for soybeans in our area will help expand farm income potential, plus it will diversify the economy. This is value-added agriculture at its best. The soybean oil from SRSP, for example, can be used for a variety of applications, including the human food industry. Approximately 25 percent of SRSP’s products will be used within Iowa, while 75 percent will be exported outside of Iowa. SRSP will bring our region into the center of the global ag economy, with the potential to tap into export markets.
Is this something that will just benefit farmers?
No, this plant will create many opportunities that will benefit a wide range of people in our local communities. The plant will create more than 50 to 60 high-quality jobs, which will help attract people to our area.
SRSP will work with area schools to support FFA programs and technical education programs that help students build their skills and encourage them to pursue job opportunities at SRSP, where they can grow their careers close to home. Anytime you can create economic development opportunities that keep our rural communities and schools strong, it’s a win-win. SRSP will also enhance tax revenues and grow the economic base in this region for generations to come.
What’s the timeline for this project?
Groundbreaking for SRSP is slated for late October 2020. SRSP will be able to accept beans by the summer of 2022 and will become operational by the fall of 2022.
Will farmers and others be able to invest in SRSP?
Farmers will be able to invest in SRSP. However, the project will cost about three times more than the what was required to build ethanol plants 20 years ago, meaning the minimum investment in SRSP will be much higher. More details will be available when SRSP launches round two of its funding process, so stay tuned.