A new feasibility study funded by the Canada and Manitoba governments and industry partners finds the province has the right mix of production and market demand to support a soybean crushing facility, Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz and Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development Minister Ron Kostyshyn announced.

The study determined a crushing facility would be economically viable, based on the growth of the province’s soybean acreage and the demand for soybean meal in the western Canadian livestock industry.  There are currently no large-scale soybean crushing facilities in Western Canada.

A soybean crushing plant would bring many benefits for agriculture, according to the study, including:

* an expanded local market for soybean growers;
* the ability to avoid rail transportation needed to export commodities like soybeans;
* a new, local protein feed source for livestock farmers; and
* overall economic benefits, estimated at $190 million per year, based on facility construction and job creation.

“We have an opportunity to provide more value to growers in Manitoba and it’s always good to have an alternative market that doesn’t rely on exports,” said Kyle Friesen, chair of the Manitoba Pulse and Soybean Growers. “We want to encourage local supply and demand to keep value-added processing in Manitoba to support jobs, the tax base and economic activity.”

Manitoba currently produces 18 per cent of all soybeans grown in the country, more than 1.25 million acres.  The study estimates soybean acreage could quadruple in Western Canada over the next decade, partially in response to growing global demand for the crop, as well as processed soybean meal and oil. Currently, most soybeans grown in Manitoba are either shipped to the United States or China for processing.

The study did not identify a specific site in Manitoba for the crushing facility and did note the economics of the operation could be further improved by crushing canola as well.

Manitoba Pulse and Soybean Growers and Soy 20/20 partnered to conduct the study.  They will conduct further analysis on the issue to identify stakeholders who may wish to construct this type of facility, possibly with some type of producer involvement. The organization estimates it could be five to seven years before the facility is in place.

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