Many interesting aspectsto canola crushing plant Perhaps the most interesting aspectof Carbon Cycle Crush, the canola crushing oil plant that will soon beoperating in Oroville (see front page story) is the training that will betaking place. Once the oil extracting plant is underway the company plansto use the Oroville operation as a template for at least six others to beopened around the state. The big football field size warehouse that once waspart of the Oro Fruit operation, will become a place where similar plants willbe set up and training will take place for new operators. After the set-up andtraining is complete the whole outfit can be picked up and shipped to its newlocation, making way for the next plant to be put together and the next crew tobe trained. While this Canola Technical School might sound like it will bea short-lived program, there are more communities out there that are looking tostart their own operations. According to CCC President Tim King, the company hashad inquiries from other states and especially from the Canadian province ofAlberta where much of the canola that will be crushed in Oroville will begrown. Since canola is Canada’s biggest crop and they only crush about half ofwhat they grow much of the excess seed used to be exported to China and otherAsian Markets. However, like apples before it, China and other Asian countriesare growing their own seeds. What to do with the excess — one small part ofthe solution is to crush the seed in Oroville, but even when the Oroville plantis operating at full capacity, crushing about 200 tons of seeds a day, thatwill be just a drop in the bucket according to King, who says it makes sensefor small facilities to operating close to where the seed is being grown.That’s another good reason for local farmers to consider planting canola as acash crop in Okanogan County. King says he’d like to see 50 percent of theseeds come from the local grower. So not only will Oroville have a plantemploying people at good living wage jobs to crush the seeds into oil, it willalso have a training facility for people looking to set up sustainable jobs intheir community — which in turn employs more local people at home. If areafarmers start growing the seeds themselves then there’s another potential boostto the local economy. After that there are value-added processes that peoplecan do that benefit from a local canola-oil plant, like making Green Diesel(can’t call it Bio-Diesel because the soybean industry has patented that name).There has even been talk of making a co-generating plant to make electricity. It all sounds very exciting, last Saturday we saw that the presses atOroville can mill the seed into oil for a variety of uses and meal for animalfeed. Now with only a few more pieces to the puzzle left to fall into place,like the arrival of the boiler for one, the next thing we should see are trucksfrom the Canadian prairies bringing seeds to crush at the plant every day,putting people to work.
About Gary DeVon
Gary DeVon is the managing editor of the Okanogan Valley Gazette-Tribune and celebrated his 25th year at the newspaper in August 2012. He graduated from Gonzaga University with a degree in Communications - Print Journalism, with an emphasis in photojournalism. He is a proud alumnus of Oroville High School. His family first settled in Okanogan County in the late 1800s. His parents are Judy DeVon and the late Larry DeVon and he has two younger brothers - Dante and Michael. Many family members still call Oroville home. He has a grown daughter, Segornae Douglas and a young granddaughter, Erin.