Company expects to double the facility's annual requirement for eggs from area family farms to 170 million.

BIG LAKE, MINN. — Cargill said it is investing $20 million to expand its Big Lake egg processing facility. The expansion will include capabilities to pasteurize, mix and cook additional egg products for food service and protein ingredient customers.

With the expansion, Cargill expects to add a dozen new positions and to double the facility’s annual requirement for eggs from area family farms to 170 million. Construction is scheduled to begin in May, and the new capabilities are expected to become operational in January 2019.

“We continue to invest in the traditional protein space to provide our food service and food ingredient customers innovative, high-quality cooked egg products to meet growing consumer demand,” said Jared Johnson, Big Lake plant general manager. “This investment underscores our ongoing commitment to the Big Lake community and our employees, egg suppliers and restaurant and food service customers throughout the upper Midwest.”

The expansion is part of nearly $900 million of investments Cargill has announced in the past two years to grow its traditional protein business in North America. This included recent investments of $27 million and $12 million at egg production plants in Lake Odessa, Mich., and Mason City, Iowa.

“Economies are improving,” Mr. Johnson said. “More people are moving into the middle class and the world population is expected to reach 9 billion by 2050. These factors are driving significantly increased demand for animal protein around the world. Cargill’s protein team is prepared to play a critical role in meeting this demand and nourish the world with sustainable, high quality protein.”

The Big Lake facility opened in 2001. Cargill operates additional egg processing facilities in Monticello, Minn., Mason City and Lake Odessa.