When within hours of each other, two companies announced plans to build canola crushing plants in Yorkton few believed it would happen.
The general consensus was that one of the companies would ‘blink’ and decide to look elsewhere for a spot to build.
But the strength’s of the city won out. Those strengths include five highway access points, and service by both of this country’s rail lines.
Add in the health, education and recreation opportunities which are essential to attracting staff these days, and Yorkton was the place to be.
In terms of canola there were those who wondered how the two plants would attract the tonnage they required, especially with an existing facility just across the Manitoba border at Harrowby.
But the plants were both built, and the city has gained from that in a major economic way.
And the plants found enough canola, enough to the point one, Richardson Oilseeds, sees the potential to expand.
The company will be increasing the capacity of its plant in the RM or Orkney by 25 per cent, which will increase the annual plant capacity from 840,000 metric tonnes of canola seed annually to over one-million.
The expansion speaks both to what our city has to offer, and to the continuing optimism in regards to the demand for canola oil.
“We are seeing strong demand for canola oil in Canada, U.S. and globally and believe this demand will continue in the foreseeable future,” said company spokesperson Pat Van Osch in a June 27 Yorkton This Week article. “The demand is being drive by growth in food markets, overseas exports and biodiesel mandates in Canada and the U.S.” He added the specific profile of canola oil is a factor in the demand as well. “The healthy profile of Canola oil contributes to this demand.”
While not releasing financial details of the expansion, Van Osch did say additional staff would be needed, although he did not put a number on those requirements.
To see Richardson Oilseeds have such confidence in the city and canola sector have to be positives. Certainly it is what officials dreamed of when the plants were built, that it would lead to further investment locally by both firms. They were likely envisioning value-added developments related to the oil being produced, but a plant expansion is a positive step, which we all hope will lead to more.