S.D. Soybean Processors Back In The Black

Inside Dakota Ag

S.D. Soybean Processors has turned itself around. It closed a money-losing startup and rededicated itself to its core business -- crushing soybeans.

Published on: March 12, 2013

South Dakota Soybean Processors, a farmer-owned company started in 1994, has done something of a turnaround. It lost money two years ago. But in 2012 it made money and expects to generate more profit in 2013.

Launched in 1994 by about 2,400 soybean growers, SDSP crushes soybeans and makes soybean oil and meal. Last year, it began further refining some of its soybean oil into food grade salad oil. It also began producing some high-value byproducts from the salad oil, such as lecithin and vitamin E, for the pharmaceutical and dietary supplement markets.

The salad oil and byproducts are currently a small, but profitable source of additional revenue for the company.

Last year, SDSP also quit trying to make a soy urethane foam product and rededicated itself “to the business it was originally formed to do and knows best -- processing soybeans,” says Ron Gorder, the board chairman and an Estelline, S.D., farmer.

NEVER DOWN: South Dakota Soybean Processors runs 24-hours a day 7 days a week. Reducing downtime has been one of the keys to a profitable year for the farmer-owned plant. Photo: SDSP
NEVER DOWN: South Dakota Soybean Processors runs 24-hours a day 7 days a week. Reducing downtime has been one of the keys to a profitable year for the farmer-owned plant. Photo: SDSP

What makes the future look bright?

  • The plant’s unique niche. It is located further north and west than most other plants, giving it better access to Dakota-grown soybeans and to Asia and Canadian markets for soyoil and protein.
  • Growth in the dairy, hog and turkey industry, especially in South Dakota.

You can read more about the SDSP success story in the February 2013 Dakota Famer. See pages 9-10.