Members of the Georgia Farmers Oilseed Cooperative, Inc., recently received a USDA grant for $149,000. Ben Deal, president of the cooperative, accepted the grant presented by Stone Workman, state director of USDA Rural Development.

The grant was awarded to the cooperative to develop business and marketing plans for value-added oilseed processing. The cooperative was formed in May of 2002 and has 152 farmer-producer members.

The cooperative hopes to expand to 800 members when a stock sale is offered later this year. Cooperative members have selected a site in Claxton to construct an oilseed processing facility capable of processing canola, soybeans, peanuts and sunflower seeds.

“We're hoping very much that we're going to help the farmers in the state. Processing our own product can add 80 cents to the value of a bushel of soybeans and can add about $2.20 to the value of a bushel of canola,” says Deal.