Proposed nitrogen plant gets new partner

A potential farmer-owned fertilizer factory for Saskatchewan took another step toward reality last week with the addition of a third project development partner.

Farmers of North America (FNA) announced February 28 that MNP LLP, a major accounting firm with strong agricultural portfolio, is on board to assist in the design of the sales and distribution structure for ProjectN.

“At every turn we have been able to bring the best talent in the world to this project,” said Bob Friesen, spokesperson for the FNA Fertilizer Limited Partnership (FNA FLP). “We are well along the project plan, exercising care, but moving at pace, so we not only get the plant built, but we get it built with the best minds, best designs and best economics for all business partners.”

MNP LLP joins BMO Capital Markets and Stantec Inc., the other two major partners on the project. As business advisor, BMO is taking the lead on capital development while Stantec has been appointed to financial modelling, engineering and creation of the Bankable Feasibility Study.

In February, FNA wrapped up the first phase of the project, which was an initial offering of seed capital units to its membership. Friesen said it went better than expected as farmers from coast to coast committed $7 million in risk capital representing 6.5 million acres of land and 560,000 tonnes of fertilizer, more the half the proposed production capacity of the facility.

“There has been a lot of excitement and enthusiasm for this project, even in Quebec,” Friesen said.

A second offering of seed capital units is now underway. The new offering is open to all farmers, not just FNA members.

“What is absolutely critical is getting as many famers as possible so we can control a major portion of the production of the new facility,” Friesen said.

FNA was founded 13 years ago as a coalition of farmers with intent of reducing input costs through combined buying power.