YORKTON - A major expansion to the Louis Dreyfus Company canola crushing plant announced only a few weeks ago was officially launched with a sod turning today.
Premier Scott Moe said the day was “a very, very, exciting day in Yorkton and Saskatchewan.
The plant, which will double crush capacity to more than two million tonnes at the facility that was first announced back in 2006, is “a very significant investment in the agriculture industry in Saskatchewan.”
Moe said it is investments such as the one LDC is making at its Yorkton facility which has helped Saskatchewan grow in terms of population.
“There are more people living in Saskatchewan than 13-years ago (when the plant was initially started,” observed Moe.
“People are coming here because opportunities are here, like the one we see before us.”
In the specific case of canola, it has become a cornerstone of exports in Saskatchewan, continued Moe.
Exports to the United States were near $30 billion last year, with canola and its byproducts accounting for $2.8 billion, or near 10 per cent, said Moe.
Saskatchewan exports to Mexico hit $1 billion for the first time, and canola was responsible for 20 to 25 per cent of that, he added.
Canola oil and canola seed were among Saskatchewan’s top agri-food exports in 2022, with a value of $3.5 billion and $2.7 billion, respectively. Canola oil was also the third largest export product to the United States in 2022, which saw a record $29.3 billion in exports to the nation.
Moe also stated the province has a goal of seeing 75 per cent of the canola grown in Saskatchewan crushed here.
“With this investment we’ll achieve that target,” he said.
Canora MLA Terry Dennis said the plant expansion is obviously important to the region, and builds on the decision by LDC in 2009 “to plant its roots right here.”
Yorkton Mayor Mitch Hippsley said the LDC decision to initially build here, and now to expand, sends a definite message that Yorkton is a good place to do business. He added that it certainly helps that the city is well-served in terms of multiple highways accessing the city, both CP and CN rail lines accessing the city, and an aquifer water source that has capacity to serve industry needs.
“We have it all right here in our province – in our city,” he said.
Hippsley said the plant expansion will generate millions in terms of the local economy, first with crews here through the construction phase, then with new plant jobs which will in turn push housing starts and similar ripple effects through the economy.
Dennis said the expansion shows that producers are adopting the latest technologies and innovations as they “produce the most sustainable canola in the world.”
André Roth, Global Head of Grains & Oilseeds for LDC Yorkton said the expansion is a strategic investment that supports the Group’s strategic growth plans and the company’s ongoing commitment to provide nourishment for people and livestock, as well as feedstock for renewable energy production.
Roth noted that the canola crush sector produces products that feed people, livestock, and can be used in the production of renewable energy.
“This development is a key investment,” he said.
When complete, the facility will have a crush capacity of over two million metric tons, more than double its current capacity. LDC initially opened the facility in 2009, and currently employs approximately 120 people. The new addition, which Brian Conn, LDC’s Country Manager for Canada explained is a stand alone facility, allowing the current facility to continue to crush through construction, will require an additional 80 staff.