Page 60 - Discover Magazine 2019
P. 60

An Important Way of Life in Shelby County
Discover Shelby County Ohio
Corn, lettuce, cucumbers, squash, melons, apples. Work at the busy plant starts in the soybean crush
Area farmers share their bountiful harvests at the Sidney Farmers Market held each Saturday around the court square from the end of May to mid- October. Fresh produce of all kinds, hand-picked
berries, flowers, jams and jellies, and homemade baked goods are savored by all who visit the market.
Despite the strong manufacturing presence in Shelby County, agriculture is still an important part of the local economic climate. The 986 farms in the county occupy 287,000 acres of land and produce approximately $208 billion in cash receipts, putting Shelby County in the top ten percent of all counties in Ohio.
Farming in Shelby County is well-established as the area boasts 12 Sesquicentennial Family Farms and 16 Century Family Farms. The largest commodity grown here is corn. Soybeans are a close second, followed by pigs and hogs. Cows are also big business as the countryside is dotted with dairy farms.
The large soybean crop made Sidney a logical location for Cargill, an international food and agricultural company. Begun as a crush plant, the Sidney operation is one of only two fully integrated soybean-to-finished product Cargill plants in North America. Steady growth throughout the 1980’s and 90’s led Cargill to add a refinery and packing facility to the original crush plant.
area where truckloads of soybeans are separated into hulls, soybean meal, and soybean oil. The pure fiber hulls are used primarily for pet food and livestock feed. The meal is protein which Cargill sells to customers who mix it with other ingredients for livestock and poultry feed as well as pet food. The oil that results from the crushing is taken to the refinery where it is processed into a finished product. Bulk loadings of oil are sold primarily to food service businesses and several industrial users. Much of the oil goes to Cargill’s packaging business where it is packed strictly as soybean oil or blended with other oils like corn, cotton, or canola.
In 2018, Cargill invested more than $10 million
to install of state-of-the-art edible oil bottling line at its Sidney crush and refinery facility. The line uses the most efficient bottling technology, delivering an annual 75% capacity increase over previous lines. It is also designed to reduce packaging material waste and use fully recyclable polyethylene terephthalate plastic.
Like the manufacturing industry, local agriculture has grown increasingly reliant on technology. Global positioning systems, satellite and aerial imagery, and data management by computer have revolutionized today’s farms. Hard work is still required, but the horse and plow have given way to computerized tractors that use GPS and other systems to make straight rows and spread fertilizer evenly.

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