Cargill Malt will close its largest malting in Spiritwood, North Dakota after the end of this year’s crop season in October. The plant has an annual production capacity of 440,000 tons and is one of the largest maltings in world.
The company said the demand for malt produced from the locally grown six-row barley varieties has fallen in favor of two-row barley varieties grown elsewhere. The output of the plant had already been reduced in recent years, which caused Cargill in November 2016 to cut about 15 jobs at the site.
“The decision to close a plant is never easy, but reduced demand for six-row crops, a North Dakota climate not conducive to the more in-demand two-row crops and low utilization of the plant made the closure necessary,” said April Nelson, communications specialist with Cargill Corporate Affairs in Minneapolis today.
The closure affects 55 employees, which “are also welcome to apply for other open positions within Cargill, either in North Dakota or elsewhere,” Nelson stated.
“Growers were notified that Cargill would not continue its Contract growing program prior to the 2018 season so they could make alternate contracting and growing choices,” the speaker said.
Cargill Malt is currently operating 16 maltings on four continents and is the third largest maltster in the world. Next to Spiritwood, a plant that Cargill got in 1991 when it bought Ladish Malt, the company also owns another much smaller malting in the US in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. The Sheboygan plant has a capacity of 33,000 tons and belongs to the group since 1998, when Cargill acquired Schreier Maltings.
Cargill Malt is a divison of Cargill Inc., the largest privately held corporation in the United States in terms of revenue based in Minnetonka, Minnesota. Cargill is involved on a global scale in trading, distributing and processing grain and other agricultural commodities, including related financial services. The company had a revenue in 2017 of $109.7 billion with adjusted operating earnings of $3.04 billion.