GALVA, Iowa | American Natural Processors, a Cherokee, Iowa-based company that specializes in organic and non-GMO specialty foods, recently expanded to Galva, Iowa.
The expansion, which consisted of purchasing and remodeling an existing diesel plant, cost around $10 million plus real estate.
Mark Schuett, owner of American Natural Processors, said the company chose the Galva location because the facility was easy to retrofit and remodel into a food-grade vegetable oil plant.
The expansion is nearly finished, said Chief Operating Officer Sam Jennett. Once completed, the soy concentration system will be able to run continuously.
“The biodiesel plant had a lot of existing usable features,” Schuett said.
At the new Galva location, the company produces algal oil, an edible alternate oil product, and soy protein concentrate, which is used to make easier-to-digest food for fish and baby pigs.
The move is a big step toward increasing the company’s algal oil production. The home plant in Cherokee is only able to accommodate small-scale algal oil production.
“One of the things we’re doing that’s pretty unique is we crush algae to get the oil out,” Schuett said. “Then we refine that oil into really unique edible oil products.”
Currently employing around 15 people, the company hopes to hire a total of 25-35 people once the plant is fully upgraded.
For a small town like Galva, Schuett said such industries benefit the community.
“Locally we provides high quality, good-paying jobs,” Schuett said. “Our growth over the last few years is because we’ve been blessed with being able to find the right employees — and we pay our employees well.”
Their products also benefit local soybean farmers, Schuett said, because they offer more options. This increases the market for soybeans, he said. If the supply remains the same, the price will increase, he said.
“It’s what the state of Iowa wants,” Schuett said. “Rather than exporting they want to have value-added businesses that capture more income out of every bushel of beans that’s grown.”
American Natural Processors is in the business of alternative products, said Jennett. They like to challenge the status quo of the agricultural industry.
“We try and keep [the industry] progressing towards healthier, sustainable products that are processed without the use of harsh chemicals,” he said. “Really it’s about giving the consumer a choice what type of food they want to eat. We want to give them that healthier, cleaner and less processed choice.”
View original article at: American Natural Processors expands to Galva