A growing demand for healthier food alternatives in the United States will benefit canola producers near Yorkton, Saskatchewan, when a $130 million crushing plant begins operation in time for the 2009 crop year. Swiss-based Louis Dreyfus Commodities and Mitsui & Co. Ltd formed a joint venture in 2007 - LDM Foods - to construct and operate the eastern Saskatchewan facility.
"We are on target to commission the plant in late June or early July," says Brant Randles, president of LDM Foods. "We're confident commercial crushing of canola will begin before September 1 in time for farmers to bring the 2009 canola crop to us."
Hundreds of area farmers will grow canola under contract to the plant, which will employ 65 people full-time and operate 24/7. The Yorkton plant will process 850,000 metric tons of canola per year and bring Louis Dreyfus's worldwide oilseed processing capacity to 36,000 metric tons per day. The annual capacity of the plant will be 350,000 metric tons of oil and 500,000 metric tons of meal production.
The Saskatchewan site was selected because of its transportation infrastructure (rail and road), access to natural gas, support from various levels of government, and its location in the heart of Canada's main canola-growing region.
"The partnership is a positive step for everyone involved," says Randles.