Perdue AgriBusiness, a producer of grains and feed, opened the $60m large-scale commercial soybean processing plant this week.
It promises to support hundreds of local jobs, create new opportunities and bring a big reduction to greenhouse gas emissions for the state’s current soybean operations.
Currently, Pennsylvania has a soybean disparity: it produces 29.6 million bushels per year, but processes only 12 million inside the state. Transport of soybeans it cannot process incurs a heavy environmental impact, but this new plant will change that situation.
The energy-efficient plant can processing 17.5m soybean bushels per year – a level of throughput that means Pennsylvania-based firms will no longer need to transport soybean long distances by truck to be processed, reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Grain dryers at the plant will be heated by steam, not fossil fuel, meaning there are no emissions linked to fuel combustion at the facility, further bolstering its clean energy image.
Pennsylvania governor Tom Wolf described the plant as a “game changer”, set to open new opportunities for the states of Kentucky, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Virginia – collectively known as the commonwealth.
“[This plant] sets a new standard in terms of community investment, economic potential and environmental gains,” said Perdue Farms chairman Jim Perdue.
“This plant demonstrates our shared commitment to ensure agriculture remains strong and farmers have every advantage they need to remain competitive.”
Perdue’s investment in the design and build of the plant was topped up with a $8.7m Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program grant, which helps the four commonwealth states create jobs.
“When the state committed to this project, it did so because we recognised the importance of investing in our agricultural infrastructure and the opportunities it held for Pennsylvania’s farmers,” said Pennsylvania secretary of agriculture Russell Redding.
“This plant is going to create new demand for soybeans grown in Pennsylvania, provide greater marketing options, and it’s going to offer another close-to-home supply of processed soybean meal farmers can use to feed our growing livestock industry.”