Richardson to expand Yorkton canola crusher site

·2 min read

Winnipeg-based agriculture company Richardson International wants to grow its market share with some planned upgrades to its Yorkton facility.

It plans to double yearly output for its canola-seed crushing once the upgrades are done, scheduled for early 2024.

The company said in a news release it expects the changes to yield “in excess of 2.2 million metric tonnes of seed” each year.

It says that will make it the largest canola-processing site in Canada.

Darrell Sobkow, vice-president of processing and food, said, “The global outlook for Canadian canola oil is promising.”

Ministry of Agriculture data shows canola prices have been ticking up over the last 12 months. On Wednesday, a tonne of the yellow stuff was priced at $739.92. A week prior it was at $738.90 per tonne. A year ago in late March it was selling for $413.79 per tonne.

Richardson also touted the construction jobs it says the upgrade will create, adding it expects some full-time jobs to be added in 2024; it didn’t say how many.

Construction is to start right away, Richardson said.

Last week Saskatchewan’s agriculture minister David Marit said the expanded plant is to “help Saskatchewan meet the goals outlined in our Growth Plan, which includes a target to crush 75 per cent of the canola our province produces here in Saskatchewan.”

The province’s trade and export development ministry also said the plant’s upgrades will: Help increase export values by 50 per cent; bump up provincial agri-foods exports to $20 billion; and “grow private capital investment in Saskatchewan to $16 billion annually.”

It appears there may be a growing a market in southeast Saskatchewan for canola by-products in the production of diesel fuel.

Estevan mayor Roy Ludwig recently told the Leader-Post the city has given $200,000 to local energy company Covenant to do a feasibility study for a renewable diesel refinery in the area.

If approved and built, the refinery would use canola oil and seeds in producing renewable diesel.

Richardson said its Yorkton facility, first opened in 2010, is to also get a new “high-speed shipping system with three 9,500-foot loop tracks” and “three high-speed receiving lanes” for producers and truckers to pick up and drop off seed.

Statistics Canada data shows canola production in Saskatchewan has hovered between 10.68 million and 11.3 million metric tonnes per year from 2016 to 2019. In 2020 it dipped down to 10.2 million metric tonnes.

Evan Radford, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Regina Leader-Post, The Leader-Post