Tie-up expands Perdue’s organic, non-GMO ingredient production

By Aerin Einstein-Curtis

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/selcebu
© GettyImages/selcebu

Related tags Organic farming oilseeds

Perdue AgriBusiness acquires organic, non-GMO oilseed crush, production facilities from the financially troubled specialty producer, Hart AgStrong LLC to expand company production of specialty feed and food ingredients.

The agribusiness announced that it completed the acquisition of facilities in the southeastern US earlier this month for an undisclosed amount.

Perdue AgriBusiness LCC is one of the largest grain companies in the US, with merchandising, processing, storage and exporting capabilities. It is an independent operating company of Perdue Farms Inc and has 75 elevator locations with storage, port and crush facilities managing more than 75m bushels to supply a global and domestic market.  

Perdue is the largest supplier for organic feed ingredients in the US, said Perry Aulie, senior vice president of value-added for Perdue Agribusiness. However, the acquisition will bring the company its first fully-dedicated organic and specialty oil refining facility along with additional oilseed crushing capability.

“We see a demand for specialty oils, to get the specialty oil you end up crushing seed, which produces the meal – the two go hand-in-hand,”​ he told FeedNavigator.

The anticipation is that the non-GMO and organic meals generated at the crushing facilities will be used first by Perdue farms and any remaining feed ingredients would then be sold to producers in the regions around the crushing facilities, he said. “We’re seeing that there’s enough demand to consume it,”​ he added.  

In addition to acquiring the production facilities, company employees working with AgStrong had the option to work for Perdue, Aulie said. Adding, “We purchased the assets and ... offered employment for the people who were working there.”

Production has already been increased at the crush facilities, he added. However, the anticipated amount of meal or oil generated at the facilities is not being released at this time.

Facility details and supply chain integrity

The acquisition deal includes two oilseed expeller crushing sites in Trenton, Ky., and Bowersville, Ga., according to company information. The sites are dedicated to processing organic and non-GMO oilseeds including soybeans, high erucic acid rapeseed, canola and high oleic sunflower seed.

The Bowersville facility also includes an oil refinery for organic and specialty oil, said Aulie. The refined oil will be used to supply Perdue facilities in Georgia and Virginia.

Oilseeds processed at the facilities are expected, in part, to be sourced from the surrounding area, he said.

“We were purchasing this oil from someone else in the past – now that we are doing it ourselves, we have an economic advantage of taking out the third party,”​ he said. “Secondly, from a traceability standpoint, we’re now able to control that traceable product that we know where it originated and how it was treated before it gets to our facility.

“In terms of the integrity of the final products to the consumer … it’s one of the key pillars of what we’re trying to do – you need to be able to trust our products,” ​he added. “We’re dealing with it from the field where the farmer is growing it through to where we’re consuming it.”

Integrity is an important aspect of the work Perdue does with specialty and organic products, Aulie said. The company currently uses multiple testing and verification steps with its organic products.

“We set our standards very high and it’s going to be because of that trust – that our supply of oil or meal provides – it’s going to mean that other customers who want to protect their brand will come to us,” ​he said. “We do that because we’re supplying our brand – Perdue Farms.”

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