Start-up Prairie AquaTech will build a $60 million facility in Volga, South Dakota, to manufacture fish feed ingredients.

The facility will be located next to the South Dakota Soybean Processors, which partners with Prairie AquaTech. The company’s products are a result of research by the South Dakota State University College of Agriculture and Biological Sciences.

Prairie Aquatech uses large fermentation tanks to ferment soybean meal. At the facility, which also includes a small feed mill, the fermented soybean meal is mixed with other ingredients and pelletized into a fish feed. That feed can then be used to test AquaTech’s protein-rich ingredient to ensure its compatability as a component of a final fish feed product.

The new 300,000 square-foot, $60 million ($45 million for construction; $10 million for operating capital; and $5 million for continued development of new products) facility at Volga will add 35 employees to the current staff of 30 people. The factory will be able to produce annually about 30,000 tons of a major protein component that will go into pellets that also contain vitamins, minerals and oils. The pellets then go to fish farms.

The fermentation process at the present AquaTech plant is done in several 2,000-gallon tanks. The tanks at the new plant will be done in 40,000-gallon tanks. That will drive a big demand for soybean meal from SDSP, which Luecke said produced about 700,000 tons on an annual basis.