MANKATO, MINN. — CHS Inc. on Sept. 7 announced a major soybean refinery expansion and renovation project at its Mankato soybean processing plant.

The more than $60 million project is the second phase of CHS investments to capitalize on changing market dynamics and opportunities to grow market access. When upgrades are completed, annual refined soybean oil production at the Mankato facility will increase by more than 35%.

“Trends in global consumption of refined oils such as soy, canola, and palm remain strong, especially in the renewable diesel sector, with projected continued tightening of stocks,” said Tom Malecha, CHS vice president, global grain and processing operations. “We’re seeing tremendous opportunities to maximize our farmer-owners’ investments in high-performing assets and infrastructure.”

Groundwork for CHS strategic growth plans to participate in burgeoning oil markets began in October 2019, with a 24-month construction project at its Fairmont, Minn., which increased soybean crush capacity by 30%, and replaced outdated equipment.

“We’re buying and crushing more local soybeans and transporting more crude oil to the Mankato plant for refining,” Mr. Malecha said. “We’re looking forward to being able to process even more of farmers’ soybeans into value-added products, which are in high demand by global customers in several market segments.”

Along with improvements to fully optimize soybean oil refining, related Mankato plant improvements include upgrading and expanding the entire refining process, and improving process flows to reduce operating costs. Project completion is expected in late summer 2023.