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Gov. Laura Kelly (fifth from right) and U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran (eighth from right) were among the dignitaries who helped with the construction kickoff for Bartlett’s $375 million soybean crushing plant in southeast Kansas on June 17. (Courtesy photo.)

Construction is underway on a $375 million soybean crushing facility in Cherryvale in southeast Kansas that will provide an important source of feedstock for producing renewable fuels, food products and animal feeds.

Located in Montgomery County, the plant will be owned and operated by Bartlett, a Savage Company, and capable of handling approximately 45 million bushels of soybeans annually to crush into soybean meal and refined soybean oil. The Bartlett plant will create about 50 permanent jobs when operations commence in early 2024, and support additional jobs and economic activity during construction.

A June 17 groundbreaking ceremony and luncheon were hosted by the Montgomery County Action Council in partnership with the Kansas Department of Commerce’s Office of Rural Prosperity to commemorate the start of this significant economic development project for the region. Participants included Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly, U.S. Sen. Kansas Jerry Moran, Kansas State Rep. Jim Kelly, Director of the Kansas Department of Commerce’s Office of Rural Prosperity Trisha Purdon, Montgomery County officials, representatives of U.S. Sen. Roger Marshall and U.S. Congressman Jake LaTurner, and members of Bartlett’s leadership team.

“We’re excited to start construction on our soybean crushing plant in Montgomery County. The facility will be an economic driver in southeast Kansas and expand markets for local soybean producers and agribusinesses,” said Bartlett President Bob Knief. “We appreciate the ongoing support from state, federal and local leaders, and look forward to serving a vital role for the food, animal feed and renewable fuel industries. We’ll support our nation’s transition to renewable fuels by sourcing up to 65 million gallons of feedstock for renewable transportation fuels annually, which will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 400,000 tons a year.”

“Agriculture-based and renewable energy businesses are major economic drivers in Kansas, and I am extremely pleased to see Bartlett recognize just how ideal this location is for the future of their operations,” Kelly said. “Powered by Kansas’ outstanding infrastructure and talented workforce, I’m confident Bartlett’s new project will be a tremendous success and have a significant economic impact on the region and our state as a whole.”

“The congressional delegation, on behalf of all of us, we are congratulatory to Montgomery County and to southeast Kansas for the success that this day represents—in the increase in opportunities for economic benefits to farmers and agriculture, for the communities for employment, for increasing opportunities to support transportation, and just an overall growth of southeast Kansas,” Moran said in his remarks. “This is one more example in which people roll up their sleeves and make something good happen.”

“With our strategic location in the middle of the country and our strong agricultural roots, I’m absolutely thrilled that Bartlett chose Kansas as the place to locate this impressive new facility,” said Trisha Purdon, director of the Kansas Department of Commerce’s Office of Rural Prosperity. “We know they had other states in the region to choose from, so I am proud but not surprised that they selected Kansas as the winning location for this project. It’s proof of their visionary approach, and of the strong assets in Kansas we have to offer ag-based and renewable energy companies.”

The plant’s location in Montgomery County, near the town of Cherryvale, provides access to highways 160, 166, 169 and 400. The South Kansas & Oklahoma Railroad, owned and operated by WATCO, will provide rail services for the facility, connecting the plant to a network of Class 1 carriers. Ground preparation work is currently being performed by Crossland Construction Company for the processing plant, grain elevator and loop track system.

“We’re pleased that Bartlett chose to construct their soybean crushing plant here. Montgomery County is an ideal location for a major infrastructure project like this with our transportation connectivity and talented workforce,” said Rep. Jim Kelly, Kansas State Legislature District 11 and interim director of the Montgomery County Action Council. “Bond incentives from Montgomery County as well as tax credits through the state’s High Performance Incentive Program helped make this investment by Bartlett possible, and our economic development programs also can benefit other businesses.”

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