CHS Inc. on Monday closed its soy protein plant in South Sioux City, IA eliminating 63 jobs. The Minnesota-based farmers cooperative hinted the plant could reopen under new a owner early next year.
In a news release, CHS said the closure was part of its strategic plan to help restore financial flexibility by “reviewing all company assets to determine which are a strategic fit for CHS now and into the future.”
“CHS continues to negotiate the sale of the South Sioux City, Nebraska, facility to a Fortune 500 food company,” the news release said. “If the parties can reach a deal, we anticipate that CHS will finalize the potential facility sale in January 2018.”
CHS acquired the the South Sioux City plant for $133 million in 2012 from Israeli-based Solbar Industries.
“We are sad to see any thriving business leave South Sioux City or anywhere else in (the) Siouxland area,” said Rod Koch, mayor of South Sioux City. “We are going to miss the 63 jobs; however, we think the economy in the city is very vibrant right now and we’re hopeful those jobs will be replaced in short order with new industries that we are working on to come to South Sioux City and Siouxland.”
The 195,000-square-foot plant in the Roth Industrial Park opened in 2008 under the Green Planet Farms name. A group of northeast Nebraska investors built the facility at a cost of $40 million. Specializing in organic soy processing, the company struggled to develop markets and failed to turn a profit in the face of a national economic downturn, forcing the owners to shut down production and put the plant and equipment up for sale in 2011.
Solbar, one of the world’s largest producers of specialty soy proteins, reopened it as a crush plant that turned soy flour into an isolate used in nutrition bars, sports drinks and vegetarian foods.