Cargill will invest approximately $20 million this summer to modernize its soybean crushing plant on the east side of Cedar Rapids. Additional work at the Cedar Rapids facility over the next several years could bring the total investment to $60 million. 

Meanwhile, reflecting industry overcapacity in soymeal production, Cargill will optimize its soybean crushing operations in Iowa by closing its Des Moines crush plant on Feb. 4, 2012.

“Iowa is core to Cargill’s soybean crushing strategy,” said Mark Stonacek, president of Cargill Grain & Oilseed Supply Chain North America in Minneapolis. “We remain committed to serving Iowa farmers and our soy product customers, which we can do more competitively through our Iowa locations in Sioux City, Iowa Falls, and our two plants in Cedar Rapids. The decision to close the crush plant in Des Moines was a difficult one due to the long history and loyal employees at this facility.” 

Declining domestic meat consumption, substitution of competing proteins such as dried distillers grain in feed, and growth in international oilseed processing have created a difficult industry environment for soymeal, Stonacek said. 

Cargill will continue some business activities at the Des Moines site. Cargill will still purchase soybeans at its Des Moines elevator. Cargill will also continue to operate its vegetable oil refinery and produce specialty feed products at the Des Moines facility. Additionally, Cargill has a regional office in West Des Moines. 

A total of 22 jobs will be eliminated by the closure of the soybean crushing operation in Des Moines. Cargill will still have approximately 70 employees in the Des Moines metro area.  Cargill employs more than 4,100 in its nearly 30 Iowa locations.

“We appreciate the service provided by our colleagues at the Des Moines soybean crushing plant,” Stonacek said.  “Iowa continues to be an important place for Cargill, as reflected by our planned investments for Cedar Rapids.” 

Soybean meal customers supplied by Des Moines will be served by other Cargill plants, including the facilities in Iowa Falls, Sioux City and Cedar Rapids.  All existing contracts will be honored.