Summit Ag Investors, the investment affiliate of Summit Agricultural Group, revealed plans Monday to build a new wheat protein ingredients plant in Phillipsburg, KS, where the company recently acquired the Prairie Horizon Agri-Energy biorefinery. During the project, the company will also retrofit the corn-based ethanol plant to process wheat starch into ethanol.
The company said the wheat protein ingredients facility will be the largest of its kind in North America.
“Recognizing the high demand for high protein ingredient and innovative feed products, coupled with renewable fuels that reduce our carbon footprint, this investment fits with what we have successfully done many times in Summit’s history,” said Bruce Rastetter, chief executive officer of Summit Agricultural Group, in a company release. “The wheat protein we will produce is a healthy ingredient used widely within baked goods, pet food, and growing aquaculture feed markets. Today, wheat protein demand in the US is heavily reliant on imports and with consumers demanding more transparency about the origins of the food they eat, we see a real opportunity.”
Over $200 million will be invested in the new location and the conversion of the existing plant. Summit Ag expects the ingredients factory to become operational in two years.
“We ran a thorough search across the US to identify the best site to execute on this strategy around plant proteins, which leverages Summit’s legacy operating in biofuels and agriculture sectors. Given Prairie Horizon’s direct access to abundant local wheat production, and Kansas’ business-friendly environment, we believe we have a significant advantage,” Justin Kirchhoff, president of Summit Ag Investors, said in a statement. “Our investment will bring additional jobs to rural America, increase the domestic supply of sustainable protein ingredients, reduce reliance on imports, and further reduce our carbon footprint through this proven process.”
The Prairie Horizon biorefinery has a capacity of 40 million gal/yr and has a staff of 30.