Pennsylvania has a shortage of soybean meal, which is used as a feed ingredient by the state’s dairy and livestock industries. The state’s dairy and other animal industries consume more than 1 million tons of soybean meal, equivalent to 44 million bushels of soybeans. The state produced 29.6 million bushels of soybeans in 2014. But, Pennsylvania’s existing soybean processing plants meet only one-third of the soybean meal demand in the state --- between 10 and 12 million bushels a year. The rest are shipped out of state for processing or export.
Since most local beans leave Pennsylvania for processing and then come back as livestock feed, and extra costs are incurred by transporting the beans out and the meal back, farmers receive a lower price for their beans and pay more for feed. Perdue’s plant changes that equation. Increasing the local capacity to process soybeans ensures Pennsylvania farmers get the most value out of the crops they produce.
Locating where the markets are makes good business sense. The plant is right in the heart of Pennsylvania’s largest soybean growing region. Lancaster, York and Berks counties rank as the top three soybean-producing counties, respectively. Lebanon County ranks fifth. Seven of the top 10 soybean producing counties are located within 50 miles of the plant.
The company received an $8.75 million Pennsylvania Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) grant from the state for overall site development work and construction of the grain elevator. RACP grants are part of the standard economic development portfolio that the state uses to attract investment and create jobs. RACP funds do not come from the state’s operating budget; instead, the program is funded through state bonds. The funding was supported by Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell, Republican Gov. Tom Corbett and Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf.
PERDUE AGRIBUSINESS IN PENNSYLVANIA
Perdue AgriBusiness currently operates several grain receiving and storage facilities in Pennsylvania that purchase $148 million in local grain and other products from more than 2,000 farmers and local businesses. The company also sells feed ingredients and refined soybean oil to Pennsylvania food and feed processors as well as dry fertilizers and crop protection products to farmers worth more than $225 million. For more information about Perdue Agribusiness, please visit www.perdueagribusiness.com or www.perduefarms.com.
The grain elevator and processing facility represent an investment of more than $60 million in Pennsylvania agriculture and local communities.
During construction, 99 contractors and subcontractors, including 92 from Pennsylvania, worked on the site. More than 1,250 associates were safety trained to work on the site. More than two-thirds were local employees. During early stages, about 30 to 40 people worked on site daily. As construction came to a close, more than 200 associates were working on site each day. The largest single shift had 325 associates on site. Once operational, the plant will support 35 long-term posts and spur an anticipated 500 additional jobs in crop production and transportation.
Currently, most local beans leave Pennsylvania for processing and then come back as livestock feed, and extra costs are incurred by transporting the beans in this inefficient transportation cycle. Local farmers --- the core of our business --- will benefit greatly.
Because Perdue AgriBusiness will use steam from the Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority (LCSWMA) to heat the grain dryers. It supports a local asset and ensures a reliable, long-term revenue source for the authority’s steam. Projects like this help LCSWMA to continue providing cost-effective waste management services to the community. And, the plant’s used processing water and steam condensate will be returned to LCSWMA’s waste-to-energy facility for recycling, further adding to the environmentally conscious design of this project.
Although much has been made about hexane, the highly regulated use of hexane has been proven to be the most efficient method to get the most value out of the soybean --- for the producer and the end user. There are 96 hexane processing plants in the United States, and they produce 95 percent of U.S. soybean meal. For its part, Perdue AgriBusiness has successfully operated soybean processing plants using hexane for more than 50 years, and currently has one plant each in Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina. The company’s corporate offices are within 50 yards of a hexane-using soybean processing plant in Salisbury, Md.
ABOUT THE PROJECT
In September 2017,Perdue AgriBusiness finished constructing one of the most highly efficient, technologically advanced, environmentally sound soybean processing plants in the country in Conoy Township, Lancaster County. The plant is adjacent to Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority’s waste-to-energy facility, which provides steam to power the processing plant. With a capacity of 1.5 million bushels, the grain elevator will receive, process, dry, store and ship soybeans that are grown and harvested throughout the region. The processing plant will process 17.5 million bushels of soybeans per year and produce soybean meal, soybean hulls and soybean oil.
FACT: Hexane is a common compound found in countless household items, including some arts and crafts materials. The regulated compound has a low potential for producing ozone.
Perdue AgriBusiness’ plant will recycle 99.9 percent of all hexane that is used at the facility and feature advanced leak detection and repair (LDAR) systems to prevent fugitive emissions. With these enhanced environmental controls and advanced hexane recovery technology, the plant is projected to achieve a solvent loss ratio of 0.125 gallons per ton. This is the lowest permitted hexane emission rate of any soybean processing facility in the United States. With additional equipment and process control technology, plant emissions have been reduced more than 16 percent from the original projection of 248 tons per year to a maximum of 208 tons per year.
Perdue AgriBusiness has designed this project to minimize its environmental footprint. The plant will purchase steam from the Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority (LCSWMA) as the primary heat source for the grain dryers. This enhances energy efficiency and avoids the need to heat boilers with fossil fuels. By using steam, there are no air emissions related to fuel combustion. Moreover, the facility will generate fuel savings through reduced transportation costs --- and result in fewer vehicle emissions. Local soybeans will no longer need to be transported out of state for processing, and large amounts of soybean meal for animal feed will not have to be shipped from out of state to local farmers.
That transport carries a heavy environmental burden. According to a study by engineering firm AECOM, Perdue’s plant will significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with that transportation, and through the use of waste steam from LCSWMA’s waste-to-energy facility. Compared to current practices, Perdue’s project will result in a 72 percent net decrease in total emissions. That is equivalent to the greenhouse gas emissions from the energy used by more than 6,300 homes in one year. Click on the RESOURCES section to read the “GHG Emissions Report.”
Perdue also completed an“Air Dispersion Modeling and Health Risk Assessment” that shows the company’s plant poses no adverse health risks to residents --- neither in Lancaster County, where the facility will be located, nor across the river in York County. Although not required as part of the Air Quality Plan Approval application, Perdue AgriBusiness voluntarily conducted the assessment related to hexane emissions specifically to address community concerns. Click on the RESOURCES section to read the “Air Modeling Report” release.
Moreover, regional air quality will benefit through emission offsets secured by Perdue that exceed the proposed emission increases from the soybean processing facility. The offsets are permanent reductions in ozone emissions from other sources in the region. That means that for every 2.0 tons of ozone emissions released by the new plant, Perdue will eliminate 2.3 tons of ozone emissions from other sources, for a net gain in air quality. These pollution offsets are required on top of mandated control technologies.