Photo by Loren King on Unsplash

Louis Dreyfus Company will build a soybean-processing plant in Ohio, the global crop merchant said on Friday, adding to a booming expansion of oilseed crushing in North America encouraged by biofuel use.

Dreyfus will start construction in early 2024 on the facility in Upper Sandusky that will have annual soy-crushing capacity of 1.5 million metric tons, the company said in a statement.

The plant will have capacity to produce 320,000 metric tons per year of edible soybean oil and 7,500 metric tons of lecithin, it said.

Construction is expected to finish by 2026, Dreyfus said in an emailed response to Reuters.

In a separate statement, the Regional Growth Partnership, a local economic development group, said Dreyfus will spend $500 million on the facility.

Dreyfus said the site will serve food, livestock feed and biofuel markets.

U.S. soybean crush capacity may swell by as much as 30% over the next three years, largely to supply vegetable oil to new renewable diesel production facilities.

Archer Daniels Midland (ADM.N), another global crop merchant, opened one of the first new crushing plants this autumn in North Dakota in a partnership with oil company Marathon (MRO.N).

Dreyfus said earlier this year it will more than double the size of its Canadian canola crushing plant in Yorkton, Saskatchewan.

Reporting by Gus Trompiz, additional reporting by Karl Plume in Chicago; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Rod Nickel