Canola processor gears up for opening
$110 million facility will produce canola oil, meal for livestock
By MATTHEW WEAVER
WARDEN, Wash. -- The manager of a new canola oil production plant hopes the facility will reach full production capacity early in 2013.
Pacific Coast Canola, about 17 miles southeast of Moses Lake, Wash., is testing and commissioning its crushing equipment, said Matt Upmeyer, general manager. Upmeyer said the plant will be fully operational in the first quarter of 2013.
"It's going to go in phases," he said. "We're going to ramp up our production."
When the plant is fully operational, it will process more than 350,000 metric tons of canola a year, or roughly 1,100 metric tons per day.
The state-of-the-art, $110 million facility is designed to handle canola only, and will produce canola oil and meal. The plant will produce kosher, food-grade canola oil, but oil will also be made to produce biodiesel as the market dictates, Upmeyer said.
The meal will be sold into the dairy and other feed markets, said Sheryl Frisk, director of corporate operations.
"Our goal is to buy as much seed locally as we can," he said, noting the seed will come from Washington, Idaho, Oregon and Montana. It will likely take several years for local canola production to reach the 350,000-metric ton level, he said.
The company will supplement its needs from Canada.
The plant is buying seed from elevators and grain dealers, not contracting directly with growers. Staffers are working with grain elevators and agronomists to encourage the cultivation of canola as a rotation crop.
Upmeyer hopes the plant will benefit the region's farmers.
"Canola hasn't been growing as fast as we'd like to see because there hasn't been a great demand draw for it," he said. "We're going to need a significant quantity of canola to crush, so we certainly have the demand and we're looking for regional growers to help us supply that."
Pacific Coast Canola is 85 percent owned by Legumex Walker, based in Winnipeg, Canada, and 15 percent by Glencore Grain, based in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
Pacific Coast Canola: pacificcoastcanola.com