OMAHA, NEB. — Green Plains Inc., a commodity manufacturer that processes corn and grain and offers logistics and commodity services, announced April 14 it has begun producing high-protein ingredients for pet food and feed at its facility in Shenandoah, Iowa.

“The completion of our first high protein ingredient production project represents a major milestone in our strategy to diversify our earnings and transition towards the creation of more sustainable high value products,” said Todd Becker, president and chief executive officer of Green Plains. “We can now provide a high-quality protein feed product to the pet and aquaculture markets, extracting additional value from each kernel of corn we process in order to meet the growing worldwide demand for protein and novel feed ingredients.”

The company’s pet food ingredients are processed using a maximized stillage co-products (MSC™) system patented by Fluid Quip Technologies, in which Green Plans invested $38 million. With this system, the company has the capacity to produce up to 50,000 tons of its high-protein pet food and feed ingredients per year. It has also helped the company’s Shenandoah facility increase its corn oil production capacity by 20%.

“Our initial shipments averaged 51% protein, compared to traditional distillers’ grains, which average 30%,” Becker said.

Green Plains is involved in a joint venture with BioProcess Algae in Shenandoah, in which the two companies and CLARCOR Inc. utilize waste products from existing ethanol plants to produce algae for biodiesel feedstock and animal feed additives. The venture received a $4.1 million grant from Iowa’s Office of Energy Independence in 2010, according to Green Plains.

Aside from producing pet food ingredients, Green Plains will be able to process an estimated 28 million bushels of corn, 82 million gallons of low carbon, closed-loop biofuels, 160,000 tons of post-MSC dried distillers’ grains, and 31 million lbs of corn oil annually in Shenandoah. The facility also houses space for aquaculture lab testing.

“The successful startup at Shenandoah demonstrates our continued commitment to our Total Transformation Plan to become a world class provider of sustainable, high protein and novel feed ingredients, while continuing to produce low carbon, closed loop and sustainable biofuels,” Becker said.

Read more about suppliers in the pet food market.