MPSG declares neutral stance on location of potential Manitoba soybean processor

Manitoba Pulse and Soybean Growers (MPSG) has issued a statement saying it is neutral on the location of a potential soybean crush plant in the province.

Rapid growth in soybean acres on the eastern side of the prairies has led to interest from growers and industry in establishing a soybean processing facility. A group of industry and local government bodies in southwest Manitoba — the Westman Group — is promoting the construction of a soybean plant in the southwest region.

However, there’s been talk on social media and elsewhere that MPSG would prefer to see a plant built on the eastern side of the province.

“We represent farmers in western Manitoba, farmers in the east, farmers in the north and farmers in the south,” says MPSG chair Jason Voth, in a statement published Sept. 28.

“Soybean acres are increasing and prices are strong. The possibility of a crush plant is an encouraging topic and we’re working hard on the research and market development side to shed light on the correct path,” he continues. “MPSG is sitting at the soybean crush table to make sure the plant gets built in Manitoba. We are not here to choose a specific location or take sides. We are involved because we have a deep understanding of the subject matter and are happy to share it.”

“MPSG is neutral on the possible location for such a facility. The association acknowledges that for such a large, capital and capacity-heavy project to succeed, it must be built in the best place possible without any predetermination.”

Hydro, wastewater and transportation demands need to be considered when choosing the best site, notes MPSG.

The checkoff-funded organization hosted a meeting in June with representatives from the Westman Group, as well as Manitoba Agriculture staff and consultant Mark Rowe. Rowe provided information to the group on the costs of running a soybean plant, energy demands and the volumes needed to produce meal and oil on a profitable scale.

“Potential investors in such a facility have told us and others that they would need to see a high soybean acreage base sustained for three to five years before any decisions would be made. We’re not there yet, but we’re moving in the right direction,” says MPSG executive director Francois Labelle.

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