Hoeven: New soybean plant 'a four-for-one' project to grow ND ag and energy industries

Sen. John Hoeven explains why he's excited by news of a soybean plant in Spiritwood, N.D.

Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., is all smiles after riding in the new North Dakota Department of Transportation's autonomous impact protection vehicle at the Grand Farm site south of Fargo on Thursday, Oct. 8. David Samson / The Forum
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For more than two years, we’ve been working with local and state officials and ADM to bring a new, $350 million soybean crushing plant to Spiritwood, N.D. This facility will provide a convenient, local market for our state’s soybean producers, while also supporting good-paying jobs and economic growth in the region. At the same time, we’re working to make it a four-for-one project that ties together North Dakota’s agriculture and energy industries in new and innovative ways. This means realizing opportunities to:

  • Directly benefit farmers and the local economy.
  • Provide locally-processed soybean oil to Marathon Petroleum’s renewable diesel facility in Dickinson.
  • Make good use of waste steam from GRE’s Spiritwood station.
  • Tie into carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) projects and sequester CO 2 off the Dakota Spirit ethanol plant at the ag-energy park.

After the barley malting factory in Spiritwood closed, we went to work to find new opportunities for investment and growth and made the case to ADM to open this plant in North Dakota. The plant will crush over 50 million bushels of soybeans per year, or approximately 25% of North Dakota’s yearly production. This will help reduce producers’ transportation costs, allowing them to retain more of their crop’s value, and alleviate our reliance on exports to foreign nations.

Moreover, the facility will purchase excess steam from the nearby Spiritwood station. This will help ensure better overall efficiency for the two operations and provide an additional revenue stream for the power plant, an important source of baseload power for the region. Such a partnership aligns with our efforts to support the reliability and affordability of the electric grid.

The new crush plant also dovetails with the recently-completed conversion of Marathon Petroleum’s refinery in Dickinson to produce renewable diesel. One of our longtime priorities has been to create new value-added opportunities for agriculture, including the production of biofuels. Between the crush plant and the refinery, our farmers will benefit from more reliable demand for the high-quality crops they grow, further cementing our state’s leadership in agriculture and energy and supporting American energy security.

Lastly, North Dakota is leading the way in the development and implementation of CCUS technologies, both to benefit traditional and renewable energy sources. To this end, we’ve worked for well over a decade to provide needed legal, tax and regulatory certainty. Our efforts have included securing the authority needed for the state to regulate CO 2 storage, funding research into CCUS and implementing and expanding the 45Q tax credit.


As a result, companies like Red Trail Energy, Midwest AgEnergy and Summit Carbon Solutions are building the infrastructure needed to capture, transport and store carbon emissions from ethanol facilities. This includes a planned CCUS project by Midwest AgEnergy at its Dakota Spirit facility in the Spiritwood Energy Park, adjacent to the power station and ADM’s upcoming soybean crushing facility. Such projects allow the companies to capture and store CO 2 off of their ethanol facilities, enabling them to produce energy with fewer emissions and improved environmental stewardship. The ethanol producers are then able to sell to states like California that have low-carbon standards for fuel, ensuring access to a broader market. We’re working to ensure both the Marathon and ADM facilities are able to take advantage of these opportunities.

In these ways, ADM’s soybean crush facility represents a collection of even-larger benefits than anticipated. We continue to expand the shared nexus between agriculture and energy, and accordingly, North Dakota continues to lead the way in developing the industries of the future.

(Hoeven represents North Dakota in the U.S. Senate and serves on the Senate Agriculture Committee.)

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