A grand opening was held this morning (Wed) for a new fertilizer production facility in Rosetown.
The AGT Soileos Production Facility is the result of an ongoing partnership between AGT Foods and Lucent BioSciences. The Protein Industries Canada supercluster also contributed to the project.
The facility is being touted as state-of-the-art with “a focus on sustainability, carbon sequestration, and the principles of a circular economy” and “a beacon of modern agriculture.”
President and CEO of AGT Foods Murad Al-Katib explained the three focus points.
“Agriculture is one of the biggest emitters of carbon, so when we look at our sector it’s actually a very big polluter, yet it is the sector that has the most potential, in my mind, to be society’s solution to climate change.
“Smart fertilization, the use of micro nutrients to boost yield, doing more with less is what this is all about; so as we look at boosting yields on the same amount of nitrogen fertilizer, better use of micro nutrients, what it does is it lowers the carbon intensity of the agricultural cropping system.
“Soileos, we believe, will be a part of that smart fertilization and smart use of biomass. The reason we use circular in the way we describe it is when you can take a waste byproduct and put it back into the soil to benefit the growth of the next crop, that’s truly circular, it truly lowers the carbon intensity of agriculture, and that’s what consumers are demanding, ESG – Environment, Social, and Governance – is demanding, and ultimately that’s where we as an agricultural company need to go.” Al-Katib explained in detail.
Al-Katib says the goal is to eventually produce 100-thousand tons of soileos in the province and continue to scale up. Additional facilities, he says, is a long-term goal but for now the focus is on Rosetown.
Soileos, which is made into pellets, “binds micronutrients to cellulose and uses the soil’s natural biological activity to release nutrients to the crops as required” according to Lucent BioSciences’ website.
Michael Reidijk, the CEO of Lucent BioSciences, said the facility once it reaches full capacity will be capable of producing up to 7-thousand tons of soileos per year, enough to cover about 1.2 to 1.5-million acres. Reidijk added the Soileos production facility isn’t a brand new building – it is a repurposed AGT Foods building that was at one time decommissioned.
General Manager of AGT Soileos Jason McNamee, who is also one of the founders and Chief Operating Officer of Lucent BioSciences, says the facility will not only provide 20 full-time jobs to the community but benefit the surrounding area.
“There’s going to be truckers bringing raw goods and taking finished goods. There’s a benefit to the Ag retail community and there’s a benefit to the end user which is the most important person in the conversation, which is the grower,” McNamee said. “This suite of products that we’ve developed works better and costs less than the current suite of products.”
The total cost of the project is around $20-million.