South Dakota Soybean Processors Llc  (SDSP)
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South Dakota Soybean Processors Llc

Business Description

South Dakota Soybean Processors, LLC owns and operates a soybean processing plant and a soybean oil refinery in Volga, South Dakota. We also own and operate an oilseed processing plant located approximately five miles east of Miller, South Dakota, which we purchased on December 19, 2014 and have been operating since April 30, 2015. We are owned by approximately 2,200 members, most of whom reside in South Dakota and neighboring states and many of whom deliver and sell soybeans to our plant for processing.

Our core business consists of processing locally grown soybeans into soybean meal and soybean oil. Approximately 80% of a bushel of soybeans (60 pounds) is processed into soybean meal or hulls, and the remaining 20% is extracted as oil. We sell the soybean meal primarily to resellers, feed mills, and livestock producers as livestock feed. We market and sell multiple grades of soybean oil in either crude or refined format. Crude and refined soybean oil are marketed and sold to the food, biodiesel and chemical industries. Under certain market conditions, we may register and deliver warehouse receipts for crude oil according to the terms and conditions of a Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) soybean oil futures contract.

We strive to maintain a competitive position in the marketplace by producing high quality products, operating a highly efficient operation at the lowest possible cost, and adding value to our core products to capture larger margins. We continue to search for ways to improve our efficiencies by analyzing new methods of vertical integration, adding value to our products by investing in further processing of our products, and reviewing new applications for our products in the plastics and energy fields. While it is our objective to maximize the issuance of cash distributions to our members from profits generated through operations, we recognize the need to maintain our financial strength by reinvesting for our future.

The soybean processing industry converts soybeans into soybean meal, soybean hulls and soybean oil. A bushel of soybeans typically yields approximately 44 pounds of meal, 4 pounds of hulls, and 11 pounds of crude oil when processed. While the meal and hulls are mostly consumed by animals, food ingredients are the primary end use for the oil. Crude soybean oil is generally refined for use as salad and cooking oil, baking and frying fat, and to a more limited extent, for industrial uses. Increasingly, the sale of soybean oil for human consumption is impacted by the regulation of trans-fat. Trans-fat is created by the hydrogenation process of products such as soybean oil and plant oils. Since 2006, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has required that food processors disclose the level of trans-fatty acids contained in their products. In addition, various local governments in the U.S. have enacted, or are considering enacting, restrictions on the use of trans-fats in restaurants. As a result, many food manufacturers have reduced the amount of hydrogenated soybean oil they include in their products or switched to other oils containing lower amounts of trans-fat.

Soybean processing facilities are generally located close to adequate sources of soybeans and a strong demand for meal to decrease transportation costs. Soybean meal is predominantly consumed by poultry and swine in the U.S. On average, exports of soybean meal account for 20% to 30% of total production.
Soybean oil refineries are also generally located close to soybean processing plants. Oil is shipped throughout the U.S. and for export. The USDA estimates that approximately 64% of domestic oil production is used in food, feed and industrial applications, 25% in biodiesel production, and 11% is exported.
Soybean crushing and refining margins are cyclical, characteristic of a mature, competitive industry. While the price of soybeans may fluctuate substantially from year to year, the prices of meal and oil generally track that of soybeans, although not necessarily on a one-for-one basis; therefore, margins can be variable.
The soybean industry continues diligently to introduce soy-based products as bio-based substitutes for various petroleum-based products. These products include biodiesel, soy ink, lubricants, candles and plastics. Biodiesel, a substitute for standard, petroleum-based diesel fuel, has experienced slow but erratic growth in the U.S. From the late-1990s to 2008, biodiesel experienced steady growth, only to stagnate between 2008 and 2010 due to overcapacity in the industry, price volatility in the petroleum oil market, and volatile input costs. Since 2011, the biodiesel market returned to a growth phase following the expansion of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program and resumption of the biodiesel blenders’ tax credit.

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