Ag Processing Inc.: An Iowa cooperative

AGP works to ensure long-term viability at all of its locations; Company reinvests in plants for efficient operating for years to come

-Submitted photo
These vertical filters were installed to help improve efficiencies and cost.

Ag Processing Inc. (AGP) secures their company’s efficiency and growth with reinvesting efforts throughout all of their facilities, as well as new plants that have recently become operational within the last few years.

AGP is the largest cooperative soybean processing company in the world and a leading supplier of soybean meal and refined vegetable oils, with soybean processing plants in Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska and South Dakota, as well as four soybean oil refineries and three biodiesel production facilities.

In addition to their commodity-based products, AGP has branded products including SoyGold, which is biodiesel, and AminoPlus, a bypass protein.

History of AGP

AGP began in 1983. At that time, Land O’ Lakes, Farmland Industries and Boone Valley Cooperative Processing Association entered into a joint venture agreement to form one cooperative soybean processing company.

-Submitted photo
Part of the boiler system is shown at the processing plant in Eagle Grove.

The joint venture was formalized into an Iowa cooperative company.

“The thing that makes AGP unique is that we are a cooperative,” said Mark Sandeen, senior vice president of soybean processing at AGP. “Those local co-ops in your area, they are members of AGP, so therefore they are owners of AGP. When they do business with us, they participate in our patronage program. Then our earnings from operations are returned back to our members and into the local communities where we do business.”


“Investments help to ensure long-term viability — that our plants will be efficient for years to come,” said Sandeen.

Not only has AGP been reinvesting in all of their existing facilities, they have expanded with the construction of two new plants.

-Submitted photo
A new soybean meal loadout is shown at Ag Processing Inc. soybean processing plant in Eagle Grove.

The most recent addition, Sandeen said, is a new $300 million soybean processing plant in Aberdeen, South Dakota, which went into operation last July and processes 50- to 60-million bushels of soybeans each year.

“That plant processes soybeans into soybean meal that goes into livestock feed and soybean oil that goes into a variety of different products such as biodiesel, food products and other industrial uses,” he said.

Sandeen said the new AGP facility will provide protein and oil to growing domestic and international markets.

“We will buy large volumes of soybeans in the area, supply soybean meal to regional feed mills and load unit trains of meal destined for export markets in the Pacific Rim,” he said. “Additionally, we will ship crude soybean oil to our existing refineries to supply expanding food and renewable fuel markets.”

The company’s Sergeant Bluff facility has seen great growth within the last five years.

There has been an expansion to the facility’s biodiesel production that was announced in 2015, as well as the construction of a soybean oil refinery.

This plant, Sandeen said, takes the crude soybean oil from the processing plant in Sergeant Bluff and refines it into a more pure product that is used in some products like biodiesel and food products.

“This was an important investment there,” he said.

The Sergeant Bluff location also produces their AminoPlus high bypass protein product in addition to the soy biodiesel production.

“Adding the capability to refine crude soybean oil is a natural progression for AGP to fully leverage an integrated soybean processing platform at this facility,” said Keith Spackler, chief executive officer for AGP.

Northwest Iowa

Sandeen said AGP has 10 processing plants with six of those located in northwest Iowa.

“We are very optimistic about the future of agriculture, especially livestock production in that area,” he said. “At every AGP processing facility, we reinvest on an on-going basis. There are projects that continue to improve efficiency and service for our customers, and upgrade the work environment as well.”

Eagle Grove

At AGP’s Eagle Grove facility, Sandeen said they just remodeled a portion of the office.

“We wanted to make for a better work environment. We are continually striving to do this,” he said. “A good workforce is difficult to find and retain, so it’s important to make the work environment as positive as you can.”

There have been three other larger projects completed at the Eagle Grove facility as well — some that are obvious and others that are unseen.

“One project that people can see driving by is a new truck soybean meal loadout facility,” he said. “That’s going to improve the speed and volume of which we can load meal. It will help traffic flow in the plant – we get a lot of trucks on a daily basis and this kind of separates the product loading versus the soybean unloading there. The whole process works better. The work environment is better.”

That project is slated to be completed later this summer.

Another recent edition to the Eagle Grove facility are new natural gas boilers.

“That is not something that somebody can see being done from the road, but it is important in terms of longtime viability of the facility,” he said. “It helps improve our energy efficiencies and there is cost savings in it.”

Something some may not realize is the AGP Eagle Grove plant is also a soybean oil refinery.

“We put new vertical filters in the refinery, which is meant to help in the refining process to purify the oil,” he said.


Sandeen said the AGP plant in Emmetsburg is one of the company’s facilities in northwest Iowa, and they are currently doing efficiency and service-related improvements at that site.

At that plant, he said they process soybeans and make soybean meal that goes to the market in that area, which has seen expanded livestock production.

“It will be there for a long time,” he said.

Mason City

AGP in Mason City, Sandeen said, is a unique plant for AGP.

“At that plant we make AminoPlus, a high bypass protein dairy product,” he said. “We have invested a lot in terms of the infrastructure at the plant. It’s been in business for a number of years, so we have made updates to the exterior. We have also been working on efficiencies at the plant — making it so it remains viable for the future.”

The company’s commitment

AGP is committed to adding value to the soybeans grown by U.S. farmers and marketed by member cooperatives to AGP. According to AGP, they provide a competitive daily market while processing more than 17,000 acres of soybeans each day. Their processing operations are situated in the Midwest, and our support lies with the U.S. farmer, their cooperatives, and their communities.

AGP is committed to the success of their owners: 144 local and regional cooperatives representing more than 250,000 farmers throughout the U.S. and Canada. Their mission is to serve local cooperatives and their farmer-owners by performing the primary business functions of procurement, processing, and marketing agricultural products.


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