ITHACA — Construction of Michigan’s largest soybean processing facility is nearing completion — and just in time for the 2019 soybean harvest.
Zeeland-based Zeeland Farm Services (ZFS) Inc. announced on Monday that its affiliate soybean plant, ZFS Ithaca LLC, will begin taking delivery of soybeans, with plans to begin actual processing operations later this year.
“Testing and commissioning of the truck scales and grain equipment will take place this summer, well in advance of the harvest rush,” ZFS Ithaca General Manager Eric Meeuwsen said in a statement.
Located along U.S. 127, the $130 million plant will feature two dump pits capable of receiving 20,000 bushels of soybeans per hour. Once fully operational, the facility is expected to process more than 40 million bushels of soybeans annually and employ 75 people, according to Meeuwsen.
“Work on the processing plant is in full swing, and, as we move through the summer, we will focus on dialing in the systems to ensure the plant is ready for commissioning later this year in preparation for the start of our soybean crushing operations,” he said.
Per reports, ZFS originally purchased the Ithaca 435-acre site in 2014.
According to ZFS, the facility will increase the total soy processing capacity in Michigan to more than 50 million bushels annually or about half of the total amount of beans grown in the state each year. ZFS Ithaca will be able to receive grain, provide storage, soybean processing capabilities and feed ingredients transloading.
“This is great news for soybean farmers in Michigan,” said Theresa Sisung, associate field crops specialist for the Michigan Farm Bureau. “The additional processing capacity should increase prices and create a strong market for Michigan soybean farmers while also creating a new source of soybean meal for livestock producers.”
In contingent with the project, ZFS has partnered with Greater Gratiot Development Inc., the City of Ithaca, Gratiot County, Gratiot County Road Commission, Michigan Department of Transportation, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, and the Michigan Economic Development Corp.
For more information about the plant, visit www.ZFSIthaca.com.