Posted by Heidi Schwartz
CHS Inc., a farmer-owned cooperative and a global agriculture and energy business, announced it will proceed with construction of a fertilizer manufacturing plant at Spiritwood, ND.
The CHS Board of Directors approved final plans for the approximately $3 billion project at its September meeting. Groundbreaking will take place following completion of additional details, with the plant intended to be fully operational in the first half of calendar 2018. When complete, the plant will employ 160 to 180 people.
“With this decision, CHS is taking an important, strategic step on behalf of its member-owners by ensuring them a reliable domestic supply of nitrogen fertilizers essential to help farmers raise healthy, profitable crops to feed a growing global population,” said Carl Casale, CHS president and chief executive officer.
The fertilizer plant at Spiritwood will be the single largest investment in CHS history, as well as the single largest private investment project ever undertaken in North Dakota. “CHS is proceeding as the plant’s sole investor,” said Casale. “However, because our owners’ interests are at the heart of what we do, we will always pursue ownership of strategic assets and partnerships that will help us continually add value to their businesses.”
Tim Skidmore, CHS executive vice president and chief financial officer, said, “We believe this fertilizer plant will deliver solid returns on our owners’ investment in addition to providing them with an essential crop input.”
“Throughout plant construction and when operational, CHS is committed to stringent employee and community safety standards and has plans for a fully trained, on-site emergency response team for fire and EMT services, along with an emergency response plan developed with community responders and safety systems for fail-safe shutdown,” said Brian Schouvieller, CHS senior vice president, Ag Business.
CHS first announced its interest in building a fertilizer manufacturing plant in September 2012. In April 2014, the company postponed a final decision when construction and labor costs exceeded initial estimates.
“Because of the size and scale of this investment, we needed to take the additional time to review costs and reassess areas where we could make modifications,” Casale said. “We are now fully prepared to proceed with an investment that will add tremendous value to our member-owners, and further expand our global crop nutrients business platform.”