April 17, 2024

Bean plant new owners continue products

One of the several soybean products produced at Benson Hill's Creston facility was why White River Soy purchased the plant last week.

White River Soy liked what Benson Hill had in its soybean processing plants it didn’t purchase one of their plants, it purchased both - including Creston last week.

“The plant has the ability to to produce standard bulk oil and meal and higher end, more sophisticated products,” said Walter Cronin, co-founder and president of White River about Creston from the facility. “That is what made the plant attractive.”

Since October, the Omaha, Nebraska, based White River Soy Processing, a developer and operator of oilseed processing plants in the U.S., purchased Benson HIll’s operation in Seymour, Indiana. He said the discussion expanded to White River’s interest in taking Creston.

“We are very happy,” he said. “Our process and our goal is to be a soy processing company.”

Approximately 55 team members at the Creston facility became employees of White River when the transaction closed last week. Plant operations will continue to meet contractual obligations. Benson Hill took ownership of the facility in early 2022.

White River Soy Processing announced before the end of 2023 it has been selected by the North Platte Chamber & Development Corporation to develop an oilseed processing plant at the Hershey Rail Park, a 300-acre industrial rail park located eight miles west of North Platte, Nebraska, near Hershey, in the western part of the state.

The Creston facility processes both non-GMO and GMO soybeans to produce soybean meal, soy white flake, flour, grits and soybean oil for domestic and global markets for use as food and feed ingredients and the foundation for the production of concentrates, isolates, and textured soy protein products.

Cronin said the mechanics for Creston are common with soybean processing. What makes Creston unique is the infrastructure to create soy flakes, flour and grits.

Benson Hill contracted with farmers to produce soybeans specific to Benson Hill’s needs. Cronin said White River will use multiple soybean varieties that emphasize better nutritional qualities.

Cronin said White River Soy’s support is entirely agriculture.

“Our investors are farms, ranchers, those in grain and a range of agriculture business,” he said.

John Van Nostrand

JOHN VAN NOSTRAND

An Iowa native, John's newspaper career has mostly been in small-town weeklies from the Rocky Mountains to the Mississippi River. He first stint in Creston was from 2002 to 2005.