After completion of a long-term feasibility study commissioned by the Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board and conducted by Frazier, Barnes & Associates LLC, a national engineering and consulting firm, Waupun has been selected as the location to build Wisconsin’s first soybean crushing facility.
The proposed $150 million facility is being developed by Wisconsin Soybean Crushing Plant (WSBCP) LLC, and will be located on 66.5 acres of city-owned land in the Waupun Industrial Park.
Although Wisconsin is the nation’s 12th-largest soybean producer, it currently lacks an in-state crushing facility to process soybeans into soy oil, soy protein and soy meal used for animal feed. Soybeans grown in Wisconsin must be shipped out of state for processing and then trucked back into the state for distribution to farms.
While total production of soybeans in Wisconsin has nearly doubled since 2000, planted acreage is up only 38%, due in large part to higher yields.
“With soybean production increasing annually in Wisconsin, an in-state crushing facility will help reduce costs for farmers, keep jobs in Wisconsin, reduce wear and tear on infrastructure, and contribute positively to the city of Waupun as well as the state economy,” says Robert Karls, executive director of the Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board.
“Soybeans are a very important revenue source for 18,000 farmers in Wisconsin,” Karls says. “Our state is one of the nation’s leading producers of soybeans, and it makes sense to have a processing facility located within our state lines. This project will significantly benefit Wisconsin’s farmers, and we are thrilled to be taking the next step forward to bring this state-of-the-art facility to Waupun.”
Once operational, the facility will employ about 39 full-time staff with an annual estimated payroll of $2.2 million.
According to Kathy Schlieve, city administrator and director of economic development for the city of Waupun, “Our goal has been to diversify our economic base with a project that can be a catalyst for future growth. We have a strong focus on expanding value-added agriculture processing, and it was clear, after reviewing the analysis, that we a have a strong match for our community. We are very pleased that Waupun was selected as the site for this new project, and are excited about the significant economic benefits it will bring to our city.”
Waupun is centrally located along the U.S. Highway 151 corridor, within a one-hour drive of Madison, Milwaukee and the Fox Cities. It is positioned to support economic growth, with available industrial, residential and commercial properties for development.
WSBCP LLC has filed an air permit with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and the DNR has published a draft permit on dnr.wi.gov. Public commentary on this permit application is open until July 11, and a public hearing will take place June 28. Following a final permit issuance from the DNR, final investment details, engineering work, plan reviews and the creation of a Tax Increment Financing District will occur prior to construction beginning in 2019, with a projected opening in 2020.
Once fully operational, the facility will be able to process up to 100,000 bushels of soybeans daily. Annual soybean purchases are estimated at 33 million bushels. The facility will produce about 3,000 tons of soy meal, soy protein and soy oil each day, and roughly 800,000 tons of meal and hulls annually.
Rail service is provided via Wisconsin and Southern Railroad through Waupun. It is projected that this facility would increase rail traffic by one three-unit train per week. Truck traffic is projected at 100 semitrucks per day, on average, with a peak of 250 semitrucks per day during harvest. Trucks would be predominately routed on U.S. Hwy. 151 North and South, with exits at State Hwy. 26.