CEDAR RAPIDS, IOWA — Cargill on Jan. 5 said it will invest approximately $20 million this summer to modernize its soybean crushing plant on the east side of Cedar Rapids. The company added it may invest up to an additional $40 million in the facility over the next several years if needed.
Along with the announcement, Cargill said industry overcapacity in soymeal production is prompting the company to close its Des Moines, Iowa, crush plant on Feb. 4.
“Iowa is core to Cargill’s soybean crushing strategy,” said Mark Stonacek, president of Cargill Grain & Oilseed Supply Chain North America in Minneapolis. “We remain committed to serving Iowa farmers and our soy product customers, which we can do more competitively through our Iowa locations in Sioux City, Iowa Falls, and our two plants in Cedar Rapids. The decision to close the crush plant in Des Moines was a difficult one due to the long history and loyal employees at this facility.”
Mr. Stonacek said declining domestic meat consumption, substitution of competing proteins such as dried distillers grain in feed, and growth in international oilseed processing have created a difficult industry environment for soymeal.
Cargill indicated it will continue some business activities at the Des Moines site, and it will continue to purchase soybeans at its Des Moines elevator. The company also will continue to operate its vegetable oil refinery and produce specialty feed products at the Des Moines facility. A total of 22 jobs will be eliminated by the Des Moines closing. Soybean meal customers supplied by Des Moines will be served by other Cargill plants, including the facilities in Iowa Falls, Sioux City and Cedar Rapids. All existing contracts will be honored, Cargill said.