North Dakota’s first urea plant to start production

FF Editor
Farm Forum

BEULAH, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota’s first urea plant is on schedule to start producing the solid-form fertilizer this month.

The $740 million plant near Beulah is acting as a boon to regional farmers and transforming operations at the Great Plains Synfuels Plant. Plant Manager Dale Johnson told the Bismarck Tribune that the facility will be ramped up to full production soon and process 1,100 tons of urea pellets daily.

Urea brings fertilizer to more than 50 percent of the facility’s gross revenue producer. It’ll be the 13th product made at the synfuels plant, which already produces the fertilizer ammonium sulfate and anhydrous ammonia.

Half of the plant’s anhydrous production will be turned into urea, which is easier to store than anhydrous ammonia and can be produced year round.

“It’s a good fit for our membership,” Johnson said.

The Basin Electric Power Cooperative runs the plant. The cooperative is awaiting final plans but the product will likely be used on farms that are within roughly 300 miles (483 kilometers) of the plant, including some in Minnesota, South Dakota and Montana, where urea use is common.

The cost of urea has been mostly driven by transportation.

“That’s why we’re in nice niche,” Johnson said.

The Dakota Gasification Company, an arm of the cooperative, has estimated that 2.4 million tons of urea are imported into the region each year. Johnson said area farmers will now be able to save by buying locally rather than importing from plants in Canada and Iowa.