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Published December 17, 2012, 08:37 AM

CHS fertilizer plant project moving forward

CHS Inc. is moving forward on the $1.4 billion nitrogen fertilizer manufacturing plant in Spiritwood, N.D., officials said at the company’s annual meeting Dec. 6 and 7 in Minneapolis.

By: Mikkel Pates, Agweek

CHS Inc. is moving forward on the $1.4 billion nitrogen fertilizer manufacturing plant in Spiritwood, N.D., officials said at the company’s annual meeting Dec. 6 and 7 in Minneapolis.

CHS (formerly Cenex Harvest States) is a Fortune 500 business based in Inver Grove Heights, Minn., and is owned by agricultural cooperatives and farmers and ranchers. CHS in September announced its intent to construct its first nitrogen fertilizer manufacturing facility in Spiritwood. The plant likely will make the fertilizer using flare gas from the oil fields in the western part of the state, through either new or existing pipelines.

North Dakota Farmers Union President Woody Barth attended the meeting and said CHS officials met with the North Dakota Farmers Union board of directors and the North Dakota caucus of CHS members. The state organization has invested about $500,000 in the feasibility study and business plan for the project. The NDFU is cooperating with CHS to make sure “everything is studied” before the project goes forward, Barth said.

“Everything is still moving forward as planned,” he said. “They’re researching different avenues for water sources, for natural gas sources. Everything is proceeding for starting construction sometime in 2013.”

The plant would take three years to construct and would be just west of the existing Cargill malt plant and a Great River electrical generation plant in Spiritwood.

Carl Casale, CHS president and CEO, made special mention of the Spiritwood plant in his annual address. It is among three dozen major investments and acquisitions the company has made in the past two years “to strengthen our presence at home and ‘round the world in energy, grains processing and food ingredients,” he said. The company also is investing in a Texas clean fuels project that includes sole access to 700,000 tons of urea, an ingredient in fertilizer.

About 2,200 delegates attended the annual meeting. CHS reported record net income of $1.26 billion in the fiscal year ending Aug. 31. The company had revenues of $40.6 billion, a record for U.S. agricultural cooperatives.

Projects in the pipeline

Among other plans and highlights from the annual meeting, CHS discussed several ongoing projects:

•Acquiring sole ownership of a McPherson, Kan., refinery, in which it is majority owner.

• Making more investments in a Laurel, Mont., refinery, and strengthening refined fuels supply and distribution in the northern tier of the U.S., growing its propane, lubricant and renewable fuels businesses.

•Expanding commodities operations. CHS established new offices in South Korea, Singapore and Paraguay, and grain origination and export acquisition and joint ventures in the Black Sea region and South America. Plans also include expansion of its TEMCO joint venture in the Pacific Northwest and establishment of a Port of Houston, Texas, grain put-through agreement.

•Acquiring an Israel-based soy foods and food ingredient business with two Israel locations, one in China and one in Nebraska. CHS also acquired a soybean crushing plant in Creston, Iowa, that makes soy flour for the company’s existing soy protein foods business.

• Adding five co-ops and a Canadian firm into the CHS Country Operations retail business unit.

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