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FLEMING — "The goal is to strengthen New York agriculture," Todd Du Mond said.

Du Mond, owner and operator of DuMond Ag, was speaking at the official unveiling of a new $3.27 million soybean extrusion facility Thursday, a project he hopes can benefit all of New York's farmers.

"This plant is something we're really excited about" he said.

A longtime Cayuga County farmer, Du Mond has been processing soy and corn for several years, but the new 6,000-square-foot facility's extruder equipment allows for the beans' oil and solids to be separated into distinct end products.

Both the oil and the soybean meal can be used as feed for a variety of livestock animals, and the entire process is designed to help Cayuga County's farmers succeed in a difficult global market, Du Mond said.

Having a local processing facility not only saves Cayuga County soy farmers from paying costly transportation costs for their crops, it also increases the demand for soy, and prices along with it, Du Mond said.

Conversely, the oil and meal the facility produces serves as a cheaper source of feed for local farmers, especially dairy farmers, helping them save costs in an industry with razor-thin profit margins.

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Ideally, Du Mond said, the facility will help raise the prices New York farmers can get for a bushel of soy for by 10 to 20 cents while dropping the price of animal feed $5 to $10.

Building the facility has been a goal of Du Mond's for about 10 years, he said, but the project was too capital-intensive, until they were able to get help from the Cayuga Economic Development Agency.

"Everybody kind of helped bring this in and get the applications in," Du Mond said.

Crystina Brooks, solutions manager at the facility, came to CEDA for assistance developing a business plan and a grant application to the state's Empire State Development Corporation, CEDA Executive Director Tracy Verrier said.

After working together to develop the materials, the facility successfully applied for $655,000 in grants and $224,000 in tax credits from the state for the project, which has helped create about 30 jobs so far.

The facility has just been getting going, Du Mond said, but it has the capacity to one day handle half of New York's entire output of soybeans.

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Staff writer Ryan Franklin can be reached at (315) 282-2252 or ryan.franklin@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @RyanNYFranklin.

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