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Construction begins on pea protein isolate plant in Yorkton

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Construction has officially kicked off at Louis Dreyfus Company’s (LDC) first worldwide new pea protein isolate plant in Yorkton.

"It's a substantial investment for Louis Dreyfus. We really see Yorkton as a very good place to grow our existing business and really look for future expansion,” expressed Brian Conn, LDC’s Country Manager for Canada.

The new plant will be located at the LDC’s existing industrial complex on Yorkton’s northern outskirts.

Conn said the company plans to process over 70,000 tons of peas a year to help address the high demand for nutritious and sustainable plant-based protein alternatives.

“We see a strong demand not just within Canada, but within North America as well and we're really looking forward to venturing in this new space for us,” he said.

The new production plant is expected to be operational by the end of next year and will employ an estimated 60 people.

Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Agriculture said the facility will benefit farmers economically.

“This gives farmers an opportunity for another market and that is really the big thing,” Minister David Marit said at the sod-turning event.

“You’re seeing it in the Yorkton area with canola crush. Farmers get a big advantage by hauling directly to the canola crush facility rather than hauling it to a terminal that is shipped out of province to somewhere else. This is going to be the same thing for farmers growing peas, they’re going to get an extra value whatever that value might be in the market.”

Marit also said the pea protein production plant will also help reduce Canada’s overall carbon footprint.

“We have done the scientific research that shows our carbon footprint in growing peas is we’re 95 per cent better on our carbon footprint with peas than any other jurisdiction in the world,” Marit added.

“What that does is it allows a company like LDC to say look at here's what the farmers in Saskatchewan are doing it. They're doing it so much better, this is why you should buy our product versus other products from other countries in the world."

The province expects the plant will bring large-scale economic benefits to the city – similar to when LDC built its canola crushing facility in the area in 2009.

The construction is expected to aid the province in achieving its 2030 Growth Plan target of $20 billion in annual agri-food exports – which has already been recorded as $20.2 billion in 2023.

“Our government continues to place priority on expanding our thriving agriculture industry,” Agriculture Minister David Marit said in a news release.

“Saskatchewan’s value-added agriculture industry provides global food security for the world, with this investment taking us closer to our growth plan goal of processing 50 per cent of the pulse crops produced in the province.”

According to the province, Saskatchewan exports have risen 52.2 per cent from 2020-21 to 2022-2023, increasing from $66.9 billion to $101.9 billion.

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