Rose Acre Farms sells soybean crushing plant

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A St. Louis, Missouri-based food technology company announced its purchase of a soybean crushing operation in Cortland from Rose Acre Farms on Monday.

“The acquisition of the Rose Acre Farms soybean crushing facility represents an important next step in the execution of our playbook for growth,” Bruce Bennett, president of the ingredients segment of Benson Hill, said in a news release.

“This targeted investment can ultimately provide the production capacity to deliver on our integrated business model for commercialization and scaling of our innovative soybean products, including ultra-high protein soybean ingredients,” he said.

Tony Wesner, chief operating officer of Rose Acre Farms, said the Seymour-based company remains committed to the local farming community, a value shared by Benson Hill.

“We are excited to have found the right buyer for our soy processing assets in Benson Hill, a company with which we have a great history of partnership,” Wesner said. “We look forward to continuing our partnership with Benson Hill and believe they will continue to be a valuable member of our community. We expect this transaction will result in value to our local farmers, particularly as opportunities for Benson Hill’s network of farmer partners continues to expand.”

In December 2008, a collaboration between the two companies was announced. The move was designed to minimize cost and the carbon footprint of transportation because the plant was located close to farmers growing premium soybeans.

This purchase of the plant represents a significant milestone in the execution of the company’s growth plan and will be funded through the expansion of Benson Hill’s debt facility with Western Technology Investment, according to a news release from Benson Hill.

Benson Hill’s integrated supply chain strategy combines improved crop innovation through its CropOS technology platform with traceable field to fork production. The acquisition will further solidify the company’s position in the value chain to support production of a robust portfolio of proprietary, non-GMO, identity preserved and sustainable soy protein and oil ingredients for the human food and animal feed markets.

Recent data project the value of the global plant protein market could surpass $162 billion by 2030. The facility will ultimately have the capacity to process Benson Hill’s proprietary soybean varieties to serve that market, including the first commercial plantings of its ultra-high protein soybeans, which will be harvested this fall.

The company recently announced it exceeded its target to double contracted soybean acres, delivering a 133% year-over-year increase for the 2021 growing season. The facility also will continue to serve existing customers.

“This milestone reflects continued momentum to advance our vision for a more modern, resilient and sustainable food system, starting with seed that is better from the beginning,” said Matt Crisp, chief executive officer of Benson Hill. “Coupling production capacity like this with genomic innovation unlocks enormous value for both farmers and consumers beyond what has been possible through the traditional commodity system.”

The cost of the purchase, which is expected to close by the end of this month, was not released. Current employment numbers wasn’t available at press time, but Benson Hill does have plans to hired additional employees to support plant operating and the company’s growth trajectory.