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Cargill Moves to Shutter North Dakota Malt Plant

April 17, 2018
The Cargill malting plant in Spiritwood, ND. Image courtesy of Google Earth
The Cargill malting plant in Spiritwood, ND. Image courtesy of Google Earth

Citing a decline in demand for beer brewing malt, American agribusiness Cargill said it plans to close its malt plant in Spiritwood, ND this fall, impacting some 55 workers at the facility, the company told local news organizations.

“The decision to close a plant is never easy, but reduced demand for six-row crops, a North Dakota climate not conductive to more in-demand two-row crops and low utilization of the plant made the closure necessary,” Cargill spokesperson April Nelson told the Jamestown Sun.

Malts made from two-row barley are often sought by large breweries because of their lower levels of proteins and enzymes and higher starch content compared to six-row barley malts, according to the American Homebrewers Association.

Nelson said the plant has reduced its production levels because farmers near the Spirtwood site primarily grow six-row barley, which is less in demand by brewers than two-row barley-based malts.

Workers at the plant will be offered severance pay and transition assistance, the Cargill spokesperson said in the Sun.

The Spiritwood site is one of two malt plants owned by the company in the U.S., according to information on the agribusiness’ website. Cargill’s other domestic malting operation is located in Sheboygan, WI.

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