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CHS building $26 million flour mill

Published: Monday, June 17, 2013 11:00 a.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, June 17, 2013 11:24 a.m. CDT
Soybeans go through different stages to become flour. Raw flakes, on the left, are yellowish and still contain soybean oil. The middle jar contains spent flakes that are white because the oil was removed. The third jar is what the white spent flakes look like after being ground.

A new process is going up at CHS Inc.

The grain company is having a soy flour mill built at their Creston site, 1310 E. Howard St., with planned completion in March 2014.

“When CHS bought this facility, they bought it just for, basically, for the flour process,” said Steve Tomlinson, CHS oilseed processing plant manager. “They have a flour mill in Mankato, Minnesota, and this facility here will increase flour sales by almost triple what they can put out up there. So this really fit their plan.”


Construction started on the flour mill in March, east of the main office on East Howard Street, and will cost approximately $26 million. The building will be 80 feet tall, and approximately 200 by 100 feet in area.

“I think flour sales have really taken off here,” Tomlinson said. “We’re going to do different grinds, different granulations of flour, and we’re going to do different PDIs of flour, which is protein dispersement index, and the lower the PDI, the more soluble in water it is. So, that gets us out into different industries, like adhesives and stuff like that.”

The mill will be capable of producing 450 tons of flour in one day, packaged in both 50 and 2,000 lb. bags.

Inside the building, there will be 22, 125-ton metal storage bins for the flour, and three flour grinders.

The mill will be run on computers, is a 24-hour operation and is expected to produce 12 to 15 jobs, ranging from utility crew to engineers.

“CHS will definitely be involved in the community,” said Neil Johnke, sales manager for Creston.

Process and products

Soy flour is made out of soybeans. The beans are cracked, dehulled and run through roller mills into thin flakes. The oil is then extracted from the raw flakes, and they become white instead of yellowish. The spent flakes are taken to the isolate plant in Nebraska, where they are refined down to flour form for things such as sports drinks.

“We feed that plant up there in South Sioux City, Nebraska, we feed that plant. All the flake that they produce, it comes from here,” said Tomlinson.

After the proteins are removed, the flakes are taken to the flour mill and ground down into a coarse flour.

Soy flour is also used for adhesives, inks, cosmetics, paint, a low-fat source of protein in meat and animal feed. The flour can also be used for baking and bread products.

“It’s additional markets for (farmers), It’s a higher valued product ... because we processed it, and it’s used as a food product, as a comodity,” said Annette Degnan, CHS marketing communications director.

CHS produces both GMO and nonGMO products. GMO stands for genetically modified organism, and means the product’s DNA was genetically modified. GMO product is used for animal feed, while most of the nonGMO product is shipped overseas.


CHS announced it acquired Creston Bean Processing from DeBruce Grain Inc., in November 2011. The acquisition was part of the company’s expansion plan, increasing jobs from 32 to more than 50 by March 2014.

“CHS really places great importance on the community where it does business,” Degnan said.

CHS supplies food ingredient markets with soybean oil, soy flour and other soy-based products all over the world.

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