Site proposed for Wisconsin's first soybean crush facility

by Holly Demaree-Saddler
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WAUPUN, WISCONSIN, U.S. — The Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board  and the City of Waupun are jointly proposing to develop Wisconsin’s first soybean crushing facility.

The proposed $150 million facility is being developed by WSBCP, LLC, and would be located on 66.5 acres on city-owned land in the Waupun Industrial Park, a site that was selected following a site-specific feasibility study.

According to the Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board, Wisconsin is the nation’s 12th largest soybean producer and it currently lacks an in-state crushing facility to process soybeans into soy oil, soy protein and soy meal used for animal feed. Soybeans grown in Wisconsin must be shipped out of state for processing and then trucked back into the state for distribution to farms.

“With soybean production increasing annually in Wisconsin, an in-state crushing facility will help reduce costs for farmers, keep jobs in Wisconsin, reduce wear and tear on infrastructure and contribute positively to the City of Waupun as well as the state economy,” said Robert Karls, executive director of the Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board.

Waupun, Wisconsin, U.S., is located in Dodge and Fond du Lac Counties and collectively farmers in these counties produced 6.8 million bushels on 133,300 acres of land in 2017. The Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board noted there were 1.33 million acres of soybeans planted within a 100-mile radius of Waupun in 2017 with an estimated production of 62.5 million bushels.

“Soybeans are a very important revenue source for 18,000 farmers in Wisconsin,” Karls said. “Our state is one of the nation’s leading producers of soybeans and it makes sense to have a processing facility located within our state lines.  This project will significantly benefit Wisconsin’s farmers and we are thrilled to be taking the next step forward to bring this state-of-the-art facility to Waupun.”

Once operational, the facility will be able to process up to 100,000 bushels of soybeans daily. Annual soybean purchases are estimated at 33 million bushels. It will be able to employ approximately 39 full-time staff with an annual estimated payroll of $2.2 million.

“Our goal has been to diversify our economic base with a project that can be a catalyst for future growth,” said Kathy Schlieve, city administrator and director of Economic Development for the City of Waupun. “We have a strong focus on expanding value-added agriculture processing and it was clear, after reviewing the analysis, that we a have a strong match for our community.  We are very pleased that Waupun was selected as the site for this new project and are excited about the significant economic benefits it will bring to our city.”

WSBCP, LLC has filed an air permit with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the DNR has published a draft permit on dnr.wi.gov. Public commentary on the permit application is open until July 11 and a public hearing will take place on June 28. Following a final permit issuance from the DNR, final investment details, engineering work, plan reviews and the creation of a tax increment financing district would occur prior to construction beginning in 2019, with a projected opening in 2020.

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