Researching Market Opportunities for Arkansas FarmersRATIONALE
Soybean production is one of the largest agricultural enterprises in Arkansas. Farmers in eastern Arkansas have been negatively affected by the consolidation of the soybean processing industry and the limited number of soybean processors that are currently available in the state. Freight costs have become a heavy burden. Farmers are seekiing ways to improve profitability. The most promising opportunity seems to be expeller pressed soybean meal for animal feed markets and bio-diesel production from the soy oil. Studies have shown that expeller pressed soybean meal has significant nutritional advantages for feeding certain livestock and fish compared to conventional soybean meal. Also, with recent changes in regulations and technology improvements, bio-diesel has received positive publicity and support from consumers, government and industry. There is no research currently avaiilable on the economic benefit of coupling small expeller pressed soybean meal and oil facilities with smail bio-diesel production facilities. These facilities could be located closer to rural communities and provide new market opportuinites for farmers.
Assist farmers in pooling their resources to access better markets and improve profitability of locally produced crops.
The focus of this project will be to conduct research resulting in a written document covering the following areas: local market potential for expeller pressed soybean meal, bio-diesel oil, and other by-products; analysis of available resources for the location, design, development, and use of a processing facility; and financial analysis focused on the feasibility of coupling soybean oil extrusion and bio-diesel production. The results of this research will help determine if this would be a viable option for Arkansas farmers and recommendations will be made for developing a business plan.
The following tasks were completed: