Premier's Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence

Martin Derks and MPP Sophie Kiwala

Derks Elevator Inc. - Premier's Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence

For decades, Martin and Gary Derks ran a successful soybean processing business. In 2014, however, a fire destroyed their soybean roaster and oil expeller. Out of the ashes, something even better emerged. The company invested in a new roaster and designed a better steeping process. The result: better soybean meal. While standard soybean meal is 44 per cent soluble protein, the Derks have achieved 49 per cent. Not only that, the new system uses less water and eliminates the need for solvents to extract oil. Finally, it can handle multiple streams of soybeans, which allows Derks to process identity-preserved beans - organic beans, for example, or high oleic acid beans. As a result, the Derks have found new markets, boosted their revenue and added two full-time jobs.