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Casselton ethanol plant plans major addition

Tharaldson Ethanol planning new feed plant, to seek property tax break

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The Tharaldson Ethanol plant is seen Feb. 19, 2015, in Casselton, North Dakota. Forum file photo
Forum Communications Co.

CASSELTON, N.D. — Another major agribusiness project is slated for construction in Casselton, North Dakota.

Tharaldson Ethanol General Manager Ryan Carter said they are planning an $80 million high-protein feed producing facility next to their ethanol plant.

The plant will be seeking a property tax break from the Cass County Commission for the project in December with construction hopefully starting in the spring and completed next fall.

It would be in addition to a multinational company that is in the "review mode" of possibly building a $400 million soybean crushing plant east of the ethanol plant , according to Josh Tiegen, director of economic development and finance for the North Dakota Department of Commerce.

The company planning that project, which has been working with Tiegen, has not yet been named.

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"It's a waiting game. We're hoping to hear something within about two to three months," Tiegen said.

As for the Tharaldson project, Carter said they are partnering 50/50 with Great Plains Inc. of Omaha, Nebraska, another large ethanol fuel producer.

The new business will be called GP Turnkey Tharaldson LLC.

Carter said they plan to produce two new feed products in the facility.

The operation will wash protein out of the ethanol byproduct called distillers grain to create a higher protein dry fiber animal feed and also use the protein itself to produce highly profitable aquamarine or fish feed and pet food products.

"It's diversifying our operation to make it more profitable and efficient," Carter said.

In addition, the project will enable the ethanol plant to produce a larger quantity of corn oil. The ethanol output is expected to stay the same.

An estimated 12-13 high-paying jobs are expected to be created at the new plant with an annual payroll of about $1 million.

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The plant's distillers grain or feed currently produced at the plant is sold from Canada to Mexico, Carter said, and some of the same markets will be used for selling the new feed products.

The new plant will bring in an estimated $37 million of additional annual profit, he said.

There are about six other such facilities with the newer technology in the U.S., Carter said.

The company is asking for a 10-year Payment in Lieu of Taxes property tax break that could result in substantial savings. The current value of the Tharaldson plant is $66.4 million with 2021 taxes estimated at $650,734.

The proposed soybean crushing plant nearby is expected to create 60 new jobs that will pay an average of $32 per hour.

Infrastructure issues are still in question, among them the need to improve roads to handle heavy truck traffic and the soybean plant’s requirement of about 900,000 gallons of water a day.

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