HALLOCK, Minn., June 7, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- On May 18th, 2012,
Northstar Agri Industries, a subsidiary of PICO Holdings Inc.
(Nasdaq:PICO) became the first operational canola processing plant with
integrated refinery in Minnesota. The plant is now fully operational
having ramped production up to 80 percent of capacity, and is shipping
final product (refined canola oil and canola meal) to customers. The
new plant has the capacity to process 1000 tons of canola seed per day,
producing food grade refined canola oil, a heart healthy vegetable oil
with growing US demand and canola meal, a high protein dairy cow and
livestock feed ingredient.
Northstar Agri Industries is located outside of Hallock, Minnesota in
Kittson County, 20 miles south of the Canadian border. The plant
accepted its first canola seed in January 2012 and continued to build
its canola seed inventory through March in preparation for the planned
start up in May of this year. McGough Industrial Construction, LLC
completed the plant construction three months ahead of the guaranteed
completion date allowing for an early start for crushing operations.
"Having the plant ready to begin crushing is such a huge accomplishment
for everyone who has been involved," said Neil Juhnke, Northstar
President and COO. "I'm so incredibly proud of the work that's been
done to bring this plant to Kittson County," adds Juhnke.
In recent years, North Dakota and Minnesota producers have planted
between 0.8 and 1.2 million acres of canola. This year, the planted
acreage of canola in North Dakota may exceed 1.4 million acres with
another 40 to 50 thousand acres in Minnesota. Canadian canola acreage
may set a new record this spring with plantings forecast to exceed 21
million acres. With the recent favorable weather conditions, growers
have planted the crop earlier than expected. Growing conditions to date
have been excellent, leading to an excellent start to this crop year.
Northstar has a variety of contracting options available for canola
farmers. Interested parties may contact David Holzwarth at
Northstar is planning to operate the plant through mid-July 2012 with
old crop canola seed. The company will then schedule a short shutdown
to inspect equipment and make any needed adjustments. Northstar plans
to restart the plant in mid-August processing new crop canola seed. The
company is looking forward to a successful first year of operations,
working with farmers and elevators in the region to provide a new
market for canola seed and produce high quality finished products for
customers. Land O'Lakes Purina Feed LLC is under contract with
Northstar to market both canola oil and canola meal.
A community wide grand opening event is planned for August 8, 2012.
Local, state and national dignitaries are scheduled to speak and tours
of the plant will be provided for the press and the general public.
For more information contact Neil Juhnke, President and COO of
Northstar Agri Industries or visit www.northstaragri.com.
CONTACT: Neil Juhnke
Northstar Agri Industries