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Letter: Another opinion about soybean processing

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Scott Sechler is right: Friends don't always have to agree (“Midstate firm joins those opposing soybean facility,” March 1). People have differing opinions.

But facts are stubborn things. And the facts about Perdue AgriBusiness' soybean-crushing plant are clear.

The use of hexane has been proven to be the most efficient method to get the most value out of the soybean, for the producer and the end user. That's why the process is so commonplace. There are 96 hexane-processing plants in the United States, and they process 95 percent of all U.S. soybeans.

The soybean meal generated through this process has been used in animal diets for 70 years. And the U.S. Food and Drug Administration considers all products derived from soy, corn, canola, sunflower seed, safflower seed, shea butter and other flavor extracts that undergo hexane solvent extraction to be safe for human consumption.

This isn't some unsafe, unproven process; it's the exact opposite. In fact, the technology and practices in our plant design meet or exceed federal, state and local government requirements. Nor is hexane unsafe or unfamiliar. The compound is already found in countless household items, automotive products, adhesives and some arts and crafts materials.

In Pennsylvania, Perdue AgriBusiness operates four grain receiving and storage facilities that purchase $148 million in local grain and other products from more than 2,000 farmers and local businesses, in addition to selling feed ingredients and refined soybean oil to Pennsylvania food and feed processors worth more than $225 million. The new facility represents a $59 million investment that will generate more than 150 construction jobs, 35 long-term jobs upon completion and an additional 500 jobs in crop production and transportation.

Farmers don't have money for full-page ads. Right now, most local beans leave Pennsylvania for processing and then come back as feed. As a result, local farmers receive a lower price for their beans and pay more for feed. The state loses out.

Having a plant here will to improve prices both ways. And that's a fact.


senior director of Perdue AgriBusiness Grain Crushing and PACMA, Salisbury, Md.

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