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Jonathan Knutson, Forum News Service, Published June 21 2013

New player at ND crushing plant

NORTHWOOD, N.D. – A Nebraska dry bean dealer who late last year purchased a defunct oilseed crushing planting in Northwood now says another party, which he declines to identify, will operate at the site.

Brett Morrison, owner of Nebraska Bean, based in Clearwater, Neb., says his company still hopes to establish a dry bean receiving station in North Dakota, either at Northwood or elsewhere.

The unidentified party likely will begin its work there this summer, Morrison said, adding that he will continue to own the plant.

It’s unclear if the other party would resume crushing at the plant.

Morrison says he still wants to obtain dry beans in North Dakota, the nation’s leading producer of the crop.

It’s unlikely, however, that he can establish a dry bean receiving station in North Dakota this growing season, he says.

“I’m still trying to get growers to sell some beans and bring them here (to Nebraska). It doesn’t look like we’ll be able, with this short a window, to receive any dry beans up there,” he says.

“Realistically, it’s going to be next season.”

Nebraska Bean handles many types of dry beans, including pintos, great northerns and blacks.

The Northwood plant opened in 2007. Initially, it crushed soybeans but later expanded into canola, sunflowers, corn germ and flax, with a daily output of 200 to 300 tons.

The plant closed in 2009 after running into financial difficulties. It was put up for sale at a public auction Nov. 26, 2012. Morrison, who submitted his winning bid of $1.1 million online, wasn’t identified at the time. The buyer’s plans weren’t identified, either.

But Morrison said in February that he wanted suggestions from farmers and others about what he should do with the plant.

He said then that he initially expected to operate the plant only as a dry bean receiving station, but later learned there’s strong interest among area farmers and commodity groups in re-establishing the plant’s crushing capacity.