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Othello CHS bean plant grows, will triple its processing rate

by Staff report
| June 7, 2021 1:00 AM

OTHELLO – With the recent addition of 50,000 square feet of warehouse space, the CHS dry edible bean plant in Othello is increasing its storage capacity by 35%. This move is driven by the CHS strategy to expand capabilities to better serve its farmer-owners and maximize asset potential, the company stated in a press release.

In the fall of 2020, CHS leased adjacent warehouse space, formerly Harvest Fresh, next to its dry edible bean processing plant in Othello. With this additional space, the plant will add a cleaning line, which will nearly triple the hourly rate of beans going through the line. The plant will also add a fully automated packaging line.

“This investment substantially increases our manufacturing capacity, which will lower our overall production costs and position our plant to better support the growing demand for packaged products,” said Chris Guess, general manager of the plant, in a press release.

He said due to lifestyle changes and the impact from COVID-19 this past year, the industry has seen an increase in the demand for dry edible beans across the United States and other countries.

The Othello dry edible bean processing plant adds value to crops grown by area farmers through processing, packaging and delivering 10 varieties of dry edible beans to domestic and international markets. Beans processed at the facility are marketed under the CHS brand (including the El Mejor Frijol® brand), sold in bulk or packaged under private labels for other food brands.

CHS is a leading global agribusiness owned by farmers, ranchers and cooperatives across the United States that is focused on creating connections to empower agriculture. As a cooperative, when CHS is profitable, its member-owners earn patronage, a dividend paid to them based on the amount of eligible products or services purchased from the cooperative or sold to the cooperative. Patronage is returned in cash and dividends each year.

Since 2018, the Othello dry edible bean plant has returned $2.1 million in cash and patronage equity to the farmers who deliver beans to the processing plant, CHS stated. This cash and equity flows through growers to strengthen and support the local community.

The bean plant also supports a number of nonprofit organizations, local 4-H clubs and FFA organizations. The annual CHS Harvest for Hunger campaign has raised more than $6.83 million since 2011 for local and regional food shelves and nonprofits across the United States, CHS stated.

In addition to the bean plant in Othello, CHS has ag retail locations in Bruce, Clarkston, Connell, Kennewick, Lower Monumental Dam, Moses Lake, Quincy, Rockford, Royal City, and Warden, Washington, serving growers in central and eastern Washington with agronomy, energy, seed and grain services.