Massive Reorganization of USDA Proposed

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue has submitted a plan for the first reorganization of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) since 1994. The proposal aims to reconfigure three of the USDA’s seven wings, which account for two-thirds of the USDA staff, though the initial report to Congress states that this will be done without a reduction in the department’s workforce.

Included in the just-released plan is the creation of the new position of undersecretary for trade that was called for in the 2014 Farm Bill. The creation of the new role would abolish the undersecretary for rural development and will oversee the Foreign Agriculture Service, which is currently overseen by the agriculture undersecretary for farm and foreign agricultural services.

The new undersecretary of trade will need to be confirmed by the Senate and would chair a committee of agencies responsible for the export and import of agricultural goods such as the Food Safety and Inspection Service, according to Agriculture.com.

“Our plan to establish an undersecretary for trade fits right in line with my goal to be American agriculture’s unapologetic advocate and chief salesman around the world. By working side by side with our U.S. Trade Representative and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, the USDA undersecretary for trade will ensure that American producers are well equipped to sell their products and feed the world,” Perdue said in a USDA statement.

Moving forward, the Foreign Agriculture Service would be tasked with focusing on marketing U.S. agricultural products rather than a dual purpose of marketing and food aid. This is something that the Progressive Farmer states would view as a positive move by development specialists who see the role of the U.S. government as training foreign farmers how to raise productivity rather than shipping U.S. products to distressed regions.

Other agencies to come under the umbrella of the new undersecretary include the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Risk Management Agency (RMA), which navigates crop insurance issues and policy.  

The USDA states that the elimination of the undersecretary for rural development “will elevate rural development agencies to report directly to the secretary of agriculture to ensure that rural America always has a seat at the table.”

The plan also calls for the elimination of the undersecretary for natural resources and environment, according to the The Progressive Farmer, resulting in moving the Natural Resources and Conservation Service under control of the undersecretary for farm services. Additionally, the plan calls for making the U.S. Forest Service a stand-alone agency.

Additional shifts call for the reclassification of functions such as rural electricity, broadband, and energy development as offices, losing their undersecretary. However, USDA divisions in charge of public nutrition, food safety; research, education, and economics; agricultural marketing, and regulatory programs will remain as they are.

“The men and women of American agriculture are hardy people, many of whom were born into the calling of feeding America and the world,” said Perdue. “Their efforts are appreciated, and this adjustment to the USDA structure will help us help them in even better ways than before.”

AGP Breaks Ground on New Soybean Processing Facility in Aberdeen, SD

Ag Processing Inc (AGP) held a ground-breaking event today at the site of the company’s new soybean processing facility in Aberdeen, SD.

AGP Board members and management team hosted state and community leaders for the ceremony at the construction site today.

Originally announced in November 2015, the project will bring to Aberdeen and the surrounding area a state-of-the-art soybean processing facility, which will have a tremendously positive economic impact on the community and region.

Photo Gallery of Groundbreaking

“We are excited to break ground on AGP’s tenth soybean processing plant here today,” Keith Spackler, AGP CEO, noted during his remarks.

“This is an opportunity that we have been evaluating for some time, and we appreciate the strong working relationship with state and local economic officials who have been great partners in the process.

“AGP’s cooperative ownership base supports this opportunity to expand and enhance our value-added platform.”

He added that the new facility will begin processing soybeans in the fall of 2019 as originally planned.

“Certainly a construction project as significant as this one requires a good team, and our team is working with others to deliver on the construction phase of this project,” reported Cal Meyer, AGP’s COO.

“This facility will process over forty-five million bushels of soybeans annually, so it will have a very positive economic impact for farmers and communities in this region.

“In addition, the plant will provide the Aberdeen community with nearly fifty new jobs with competitive compensation and benefits.”

“AGP’s desire to build a soybean processing plant in Aberdeen was driven by several important factors, including a large supply of soybeans, a community that can provide for a great workforce, and solid infrastructure and transportation capabilities,” said Brad Davis, AGP’s Board Chairman.

“The relationships that have been formed with the community and our members will make this plant a successful one for many years to come.”

Cargill Joint Venture Opens $100 Million Oilseed Plant in Northern China

A joint venture formed between Cargill, and China’s New Hope Group and Hebei Bohai Investment Group has officially launched Hebei Jiahao Grain & Oil Co. Ltd – a new $100 million oilseed processing plant located in Northern China.
 

Located in the Bohai New Development Area – the largest economic development zone on China’s east coast, the 21,000 square-meter plant is expected to have annual processing capacity of 1.32 million tons that will help meet demand in the region for high quality food products, help enhance the development of the local economy, and further the integration of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei regions.
 

Concurrent with the announcement of the opening of the plant, a second announcement was made proclaiming the opening of Hebei Jihai Port Co Ltd (Jihai Port), which operates a bulk and general cargo birth with a capacity of 100,000 tons. This port will provide the transportation and storage requirements of the new plant for both domestic and overseas shipments.

Karges-Faulconbridge, Inc. (KFI Engineers) acquires Wentz Associates, Inc.

Karges-Faulconbridge, Inc. (KFI), St. Paul, MN, a recognized industry leader in process and facility infrastructure design, announced today that it has reached an agreement to acquire Wentz Associates, an Edina, MN-based mechanical and electrical engineering firm.

Wentz Associates, Inc., Consulting Engineers, was founded in 1977 by Curtis Wentz. In December 2011, Thomas Wentz and Lawrence Justin purchased the firm. Wentz Associates provides mechanical and electrical engineering in a broad range of markets including, education, healthcare, commercial, municipal, industrial, hospitality, and data centers.

“KFI and Wentz share a common culture of design excellence,” said James A. Faulconbridge, P.E, KFI’s President. “We are very pleased that the Wentz team has chosen to join forces with us. We are excited to welcome such an experienced group, and to expand our capacity to serve key clients throughout the Midwest.”

“Wentz Associates is looking forward to joining the KFI team. This decision will broaden our reach, expand our resources and bring specialized expertise not found elsewhere in this market,” commented President Tom Wentz. “We are excited to grow our ability to serve our key clients while maintaining our long-standing commitment to quality.”

About KFI Engineers
KFI Engineers is a recognized industry leader in process and facility infrastructure design and performance. The firm serves clients in the United States, Canada and Central America and has capabilities not commonly found in traditional engineering firms, including commissioning, and the ability to drive large mechanical and electrical infrastructure projects. KFI was established in 1996 and has offices in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and North Dakota. Additional information is available on at http://www.KFIengineers.com.

Recap: 85th TAMU/IOMSA Oil Mill Operators Short Course

The 85th annual Oil Mill Operators Short Course, hosted by Texas A&M University (TAMU) and IOMSA, returned to the TAMU campus in College Station for the first time in more than 20 years.

The one-and-a-half-day course featured educational presentations on topics such as smart manufacturing, maximizing oil recovery, flaking mill operation and maintenance, process safety, regulatory updates, RFID implementation, and new process technologies.

Course participants toured the Mary Kay O’Connor Process Safety Center, Process Engineering R&D Center, TEEX Fire School, and Kyle Field.

For more information on upcoming TAMU short courses, go to http://foodprotein.tamu.edu/ .

For more on the 85th Oil Mill Operators Short Course, look for the upcoming May/June issue of Oil Mill Gazetteer.

Bunge Acquires German Edible Oils Supplier

Bunge has agreed to acquire Westfälische Lebensmittelwerke Lindemann GmbH & Co. KG, Lindemann, Germany, a family-owned supplier of fats and oils to both industrial and artisanal bakery customers.

Launched in 1902 in Bünde, East Westphalia, Lindemann has grown to become one of the leaders in the European edible oil space, and will help Bunge expand and balance its business to business oil and fat business through the addition of a wider and higher value line of products that will better meet consumer demand.  Further, together with the recent acquisition, Walter Rau Neusser, Lindemann will help strengthen Bunge’s position in Northwestern Europe.

Bunge has been very active in the European market in recent months. On March 1, the company finalized the acquisition of Cargill’s soybean and rapeseed crushing and oil refining business along with its discharging operations at the port of Amsterdam, Netherlands, and the acquisition of Cargill’s soybean and rapeseed crushing facility in Brest, France.

The company also created an ocean freight joint venture through its wholly owned subsidiary, Koninklijke Bunge B.V. with Bahri Dry Bulk Co. for the express purpose of creating an ocean freight operation for dry bulk transportation to and from Middle Eastern destinations.

Ladies Historical Tour at the 2017 IOMSA Convention

The Ladies Historical Tour during the 2017 IOMSA Convention will take place Monday, June 26, from 2:00-5:00 p.m.

The tour will visit Moody Mansion and Bishop’s Palace in Galveston.moody-mansion

Moody Mansion, the 28,000 square-foot, four-story structure was completed in 1895. Today, guests visit 20 rooms on a tour that depicts the home life of a powerful Texas family. The Moodys established one of the great American financial empires. Based on cotton, it grew to include banking, ranching, insurance, and hotels.

W.L Moody Jr. bought the home from the heirs of the original owners soon after the great hurricane of 1900. Mr. and Mrs. Moody and their four children celebrated the first of more than eighty Christmas seasons in the house in December of that year. The house remained home for Moody family members until 1986. Today, its rooms are filled with the furnishings and personal effects of the family.

1892-bishops-palace-external-22

Bishop’s Palace (a.k.a. Gresham House) is a contributing building in the East End Historic District, a National Historic Landmark. The house is listed in the National Register of Historic Places at the national level of significance in the area of architecture. Architectural historians list the Bishop’s Palace (Gresham House) as one of the most significant of Victorian residences in the country.

To view the full schedule for the 2017 IOMSA Convention, click here.

To register for or sponsor the convention, click here.

 

Kris Knudson Joins Crown Iron Works

Kris Knudson has been named vice president-Global Liquid Products segment leader at Crown Iron Works, Roseville, MN, a global supplier of oilseed processing technology, engineering, equipment and plants for preparation, extraction, refining, biodiesel, oleochemical, and specialty processing.

Knudson comes to the company from Cargill Inc. with 19 years of extensive experience in their Oils & Shortenings segment, including management roles in engineering, plant operations and food ingredient sales.

Prior to Cargill, he received a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering
from Montana State University.

“We are excited to announce the hiring of a strong leader with a proven
track record in the vegetable oils industry,” said Bill Antilla, Crown Companies
Business Unit Leader.

“Kris’ background is an excellent fit into our newly formed role. Furthermore, I have witnessed his leadership approach, focus on being a customer solutions provider, commitment to developing his team; coupled with a tireless drive for success, that fits perfectly with our strategic direction.”

Knudson will focus on growing Crown’s global liquid products business, which
includes refining, biodiesel, glycerin refining and fatty acid processing with key
responsibilities that encompass all aspects of sales, marketing, engineering,
technology, strategy, and business development.

The position serves on the Crown Global Leadership Team that sets the company’s strategic direction and is a newly formed role focusing on global growth and expansion for their liquids
product lines.

Minnesota Soybean Processors to Build Soybean Processing Plant/Biodiesel Refinery in Spiritwood, ND

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum and leaders of Minnesota Soybean Processors (MnSP) and its subsidiary, North Dakota Soybean Processors (NDSP), in early February announced MnSP is taking steps toward construction of a $240 million soybean processing plant – the first of its Microsoft Word - Blank Credit Application.dockind in North Dakota – at Spiritwood, N.D.

 

The plant would be an integrated soybean crush facility and refinery, crushing 125,000 bushels of soybeans per day. It would produce soybean meal, refined, bleached and deodorized soybean oil, and biodiesel.

MnSP, a membership cooperative that owns and operates a soybean crush facility and biodiesel operation in Brewster, MN, has selected a site on 150 acres near Spiritwood. The coop would move forward with construction following further due diligence, necessary approvals and a successful engineering study.

By selecting the Spiritwood site, MnSP is able to conduct a preliminary front-end engineering and design study, which will be used to determine feasibility of construction. MnSP is working with the North Dakota Agricultural Products Utilization Commission to complete the construction feasibility study.

“The potential for this type of value-added project is great news for our farmers and the entire state of North Dakota,” Burgum said. “The NDSP plant will create value in the local community and beyond by creating 55 to 60 full-time jobs, supporting local service companies, vendors and suppliers and supporting the soybean price paid to local farmers.”

Gov. Burgum, MnSP Board President Bruce Hill and MnSP General Manager Scott Austin made the announcement during the annual Northern Soybean Expo and Trade Show in Fargo, joined by North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring. “Our preliminary market analysis shows there are markets this facility would serve that would complement our current efforts at the Brewster facility to reach both global and domestic markets for meal and oil,” Austin said.

“We also believe that the biodiesel from this plant would serve both domestic and international markets.”

The NDSP plant would annually produce 900,000 tons of soybean meal, which is usually used as livestock feed for poultry and swine but can also be used for cattle, and 490 million pounds of oil. Half of the oil will be used to produce biodiesel, while the other half will be food-grade soybean oil.

The plant would utilize steam from the nearby Spiritwood Station, a coal-fired power plant operated by Great River Energy. MnSP has been working with the Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp. and meeting with the appropriate state agencies, including the Department of Commerce, Office of State Tax Commissioner and Bank of North Dakota.

 

USB: Meeting Animal Needs Drives Meal Demand

Frankfort, Indiana, soybean farmer and USB director Mike Beard admits that for years hisusb_main_logo1-1
focus has been on soybean yield and crop marketing, believing that to be the path to profitability. Lower prices have made him question that simplistic view of crop economics.

“My soybeans ultimately feed animals all over the world,” Beard says. “While they are the best source for protein for many species, it may be possible through processing and/or composition manipulation to better meet the nutritional needs of the animals we nourish. From this standpoint, I need to know what compositional values exist in the soybeans I produce, and I need to recognize the desires of the marketplace to feed the world’s meat animals.”

Demand for soybean oil and meal are the critical factors determining market value for soybeans. Both components are important, but when it comes to providing value to farmers, meal is the engine that drives profitability.

Although the market price per pound for soybean oil is typically higher than the price per pound of meal, the comparison doesn’t mean oil contributes more value per bushel of soybeans. There is about four times more meal than oil in a bushel of soybeans.

“Until oil delivers four times more value per pound than meal, the meal will provide more value per bushel,” says Nick Bajjalie, president of Integrative Nutrition in Decatur, Illinois. “While oil is typically higher on a per pound basis, when you look at their contributions on a per bushel of soybeans basis, meal is usually between 65 to 70 percent of the total product value.”

Bruce Weber, director of soybean product line grain marketing for CHS Inc., says comparatively, soybean oil is more stable long-term than meal. Oil can be easily stored for extended periods and pulled into the product pipeline when the market demands. Meal tends to move through the value chain more quickly.
“The need for both oil and meal makes processing plants run, depending upon what the market wants at the time,” Weber says. “Meal is more important to the price structure and the impacts of supply and demand are much closer.”

Weber says soybeans are highly valued as a meal crop. Oil uses are important to the overall product value, but buyers have more choices in the market if they’re looking for oil. Soybean meal is a different story.

“Soybean meal is still what drives profitability for processing plants and farmers,” Weber adds.

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