RALSTON, IOWA, U.S. — West Central Cooperative announced on June 3 plans for a $27 million, multi-year project to increase soybean processing capacity by 50% and build additional grain storage at its Ralston, Iowa, U.S., complex.

At full capacity, the expansion would create demand for an additional 6 million bushels of soybeans each year and create more than 11 full-time jobs. Like the current plant, the expansion will produce SoyPlus, an industry-leading high bypass protein dairy feed ingredient used across the world.

“This plant expansion is important for our West Central stockholders and area growers as we demonstrate the difference with long-term investments that enhance demand, further diversify our business, and create opportunities to expand our global reach with additional volume,” said West Central’s President and Chief Executive Officer Milan Kucerak.

The company plans to increase the current plant’s capacity by up to 50% with actual production coming online in phases. When complete, the construction project would include an additional line of mechanical presses, soybean oil treatment, load-out access, and nearly 3 million bushels of additional soybean storage. New production volumes are slated to be available as early as fall 2016.

At full capacity, 10 of the 11 new positions will be manufacturing roles. Company officials are looking to begin the hiring process for those jobs as early as this summer.

“Our manufacturing staff are the key to success for our branded product line. Dairy customers trust SoyPlus for its proven quality and consistency,” said Mark Cullen, West Central’s executive vice-president of animal nutrition. “By bringing on hard-working, team-oriented employees before we even break ground, we can offer a robust training process in our current plant so our team is ready to deliver the same quality and consistency our customers expect when production in the expansion begins.”