CHS, a leading global agribusiness owned by farmers, ranchers and cooperatives across the United States, has increased storage capacity by 35% and will nearly triple throughput at its dry edible bean processing plant in Othello, Wash.
The added capability will allow CHS to better serve farmer-owners in the region by adding value to their edible bean crop. The expansion includes adding 50,000 square feet of warehouse space, a new bean cleaning line and 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,” says Chris Guess, general manager of the Othello plant. Lifestyle changes and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic have driven increased demand for dry edible beans across the United States and in other countries, Guess says.
The Othello 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.
Since 2018, the Othello dry edible bean plant has returned $2.1 million in cash patronage and equity to the farmer-owners who deliver beans to the processing plant. This benefit of cooperative ownership helps 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 non-profits across the United States.