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Published September 12, 2012, 03:14 PM

CHS will build nitrogen fertilizer plant in ND

Farmers and North Dakota state officials have long discussed the possibility and benefits of a nitrogen fertilizer plant in the state and on Wednesday, Governor Jack Dalrymple confirmed that those talks have yielded a significant result.

By: Lisa Gibson, Agweek

Farmers and North Dakota state officials have long discussed the possibility and benefits of a nitrogen fertilizer plant in the state and Governor Jack Dalrymple on Wednesday confirmed that those talks have yielded a significant result.

“Today, we’re going to announce with CHS (Cenex Harvest States) Inc. the plans to build a $1.2 billion nitrogen fertilizer plant at Spiritwood in North Dakota,” Dalrymple said. “This is obviously great news for all our farmers in North Dakota.”

The facility will produce 2,200 tons of fertilizer per day, which will be distributed by CHS, a farmer-owned cooperative based in Inver Grove Heights, Minn.

It is scheduled to begin operating in 2016. Because CHS already is in the business of distributing fertilizer, the partnership is a win-win, Dalrymple said.

“They represent so many farmers and so many co-ops in North Dakota,” he added. “These people have interests that are completely aligned with our interests in North Dakota.”

The new plant will mean North Dakota farmers can get their fertilizer in-state, instead of relying on outside suppliers.

In the making

Dalrymple said his office has been working to help develop a nitrogen fertilizer plant in North Dakota for some time. It doesn’t take a genius, he said, to figure out that the concept is a valuable one, in light of the amount of nitrogen gas available in the state. Much of that gas is flared off and wasted.

“There’s potential there for some profit to be had,” he said.

The case, he added, is a compelling one.

N-Flex LLC, based in New York, also recently expressed interest in using North Dakota’s available natural gas resource, asking the North Dakota Industrial Commission for $1 million to develop mobile natural gas fertilizer plants in the state. The commission requested more information about the system at its August meeting and might discuss the prospect further, if N-Flex provides the required information.

Job creation

The CHS fertilizer plant will create even more jobs in North Dakota, which already carries the distinction of having the nation’s lowest unemployment rate. Initially, the plant will create between 100 and 120 jobs, at its location alone.

Dalrymple attributes the state’s low unemployment rate to a number of factors, including its friendly business climate and a state government that doesn’t often interfere.

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