Cutline: The former Nichii soy flaking plant in Jefferson will be revived this summer by Landus Cooperative to distribute and eventually manufacture cattle feed. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Idle tofu plant to be turned into beef feed operation

There’s something deliciously ironic about a former tofu plant becoming a facility that will serve the region’s beef producers.

Nothing against tofu, but who doesn’t prefer a good, thick steak?

Landus Cooperative on Tuesday afternoon released the details of its plan to turn a 226,000-square-foot facility on the north side of Jefferson — once used to produce and export soy flakes to Japan for tofu — into a site to distribute and eventually manufacture cattle feed.

The facility has been idle since about 2010.

The facility was originally built in 1990 by the Nichii Company of America to export 500 tons of the company’s branded MicroSoy Flakes each month to Japan.

Built in partnership with then-West Central Cooperative, the Jefferson plant was the Japanese company’s first overseas production facility.

Beginning this summer, Ames-based Landus Cooperative will manufacture and sell cattle nutritional products for bulk feed pick-up and delivery.

Dairy feed will be available as well.

“We’ve been researching ways to bring this idled building back to life,” Mark Cullen, chief animal nutrition officer for Landus Cooperative, said in a statement. “This investment in our feed division is one way we want to show our continued commitment to area livestock producers.” 

Plans for the facility, which will be managed by Landus Cooperative feed operations manager Chris Wallace, were first announced Saturday at the Greene County Cattlemen’s Association annual banquet.

“We’ve been listening to our feed customers, and we’ve identified a need for this in the community,” Wallace said in a statement.

The Beef Feed Center will be adjacent to the Landus Cooperative grain, agronomy and SoyChlor operations in Jefferson off East Central Avenue.

Landus Cooperative is currently removing the soy flaking equipment and replacing it with beef feed mixing equipment.

Eventually, the company plans to sell bagged feeds as well as tubs and other nutritional products at the site.

The facility was acquired by the cooperative via a merger in 2012. 

The site is currently assessed at $725,000.

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