Canola oil plant brings jobs to Hallock


Photo courtesy Northern Canola Growers

Northstar Agri Industries will break ground next week on a $160 million canola oil plant in the northwestern Minnesota community of Hallock.

The plant has been in the works for several years but was delayed when the U.S. banking crisis stopped the company’s effort to obtain a construction loan.

Organizers say they’ve now secured a $100 million construction loan and work will start on the project this month. They aim to have the plant operational by the fall of 2012.

Construction will be an economic boost to northwest Minnesota with about 200 workers involved in building the plant.

When the plant is operational it’s expected to employ 47 full time workers.

The plant is being built in response to a growing demand for canola oil. More farmers in the northern plains are growing canola. North Dakota leads the nation in canola production and canola is also big north of the border in Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

When it’s operating, the plant is expected to produce nearly 300 million pounds of food grade canola oil each year along with tons of canola meal.

There have also been recent expansions of canola processing in Canada as worldwide demand for the oil increases.