Seed Crushing Plant Offers New Possibilities

North Dakota leads the United States canola production, with Montana following in third place. Canola oil use extends far beyond the kitchen and includes farmed fish feed, especially salmon, and biodiesel. Omega 3 canola, a new and exciting breed is, per Nuseed’s website “the world’s first plant-based omega-3 and will help relieve the pressure on our oceans to supply this essential nutrient. One acre of omega-3 canola produces as much DHA as 10,000 one-kilogram fish. Nuseed is partnering with contract growers to supply aquafeed and nutrition markets.” Currently, the closest seed-crushing plant for omega-3 canola is in Redwing MN. Mark Erickson, Buckshot Seeds co-owner, is hoping to change that.

Buckshot Seeds, a dealer of Gold Standard Seed, was awarded an APUC (Ag Products Utilization Commission) grant from the North Dakota Department of Agriculture to use towards a feasibility study. His goal is to determine if a seed-crushing plant would be successful in the western North Dakota, eastern Montana area. This would benefit canola and soybean producers, encouraging them and others to grow more of both. Sunflowers and safflower producers would possibly benefit from the plant as well, as the company interested in installing one would create a very versatile operation, capable of crushing multiple varieties.

The current goal of the plant is to process 75% canola and 25% soybeans. The resulting oils would be shipped, most likely by railcar, to countries that farm fish. Norway, Argentina, and Chile top that list, but with BNSF being a mostly East to West rail line, Norway would be the most likely recipient. With considerations to shipping needs, the proposed location is in the Marley Crossing area, near Trenton. Savage Industries Transload facility in that location would aid in transport, making the plant’s success even more likely.

Seed crushing comes with a rich by-product, a meal that is high in fat and perfect for feeding out cattle and pigs. In an area rich in cattle producers, the plant would serve a dual purpose, both purchasing and providing product. Soybeans have already replaced sugar beets in many fields, and canola would be a strong contender with a crushing plant nearby. As Erickson said, “Farmers are pretty adaptable folk,” and he feels the plant would make a strong positive impact on local growers and provide new employment positions. The feasibility study is due to be finished by Thanksgiving, and so far, response to the project has been favorable.


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