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Cargill/CJ Bio America

June 26, 2014 - Larry Kershner
Cargill and CJ Bio America, welcome to the neighborhood. Although both plants have been up and running for some weeks, it's now official that Cargill and its over-the-fence biorefining partner, South Korean-owned CJ Bio America, are in full production in the ag industrial park on the NW edge of Fort Dodge. An invitation-only grand opening with state, civic leaders, media and employees of both plants was held Tuesday afternoon. What an impact on the local economy these companies have made, including: A). Cargill employees about 160 full time employs, about 100 from the local area. That does not include roughly 90 embedded contractors. B). CJ Bio America employs about 140 people, not counting its CJ Express crew and security services. C). According to Gov. Terry Branstad, unemployment has dropped 43 percent in Webster County. D). Cargill's presence as the third ethanol plant in Webster County, alongside Valero next door and POET Biorefining in Gowrie, makes Webster County and three surrounding counties a net importer of corn. The three plants by themselves will use the equivalent of the corn grown annually in the counties of Webster, Humboldt, Hamilton and Calhoun. E). A typical corn basis over the past few months since Cargill started up full production has been a zero or a few cents on the plus side. This may change as the 2014 corn harvest looks to be close to a record-high national yield, but basis should still be higher in Central Iowa than in other regions. F). CJ Bio America is situated to produce 100,000 metric tons of lysine per year, geared primarily for swine and poultry feed. CJ's president and chief executive officer Kyung-Shik Sohn, told us is company picked Iowa for its first North American presence because this is where many of its customers are located. G). Cargill is geared to ship one unit train of its feed co-produce Sweet Bran to Texas feedlots per week, and another unit train of ethanol for international exports -- Nigeria, Mexico and Brazil. A train load for Nigeria was shipped on March 3. H). Cargill expects it will receive 225 to 250 semi loads of corn daily. It will process 150,000 bushels per day. During a plant tour Tuesday, media reps were told the plant currently uses local cooperatives for sourcing its corn, because that's where the supply is right now, but it plans to contract with local growers as well. I). Cargill invested $300 million to retrofit the former Tate & Lyle wet-milling plant keeping scores of local contractors busy for more than two years. J). CJ Bio America invested $320 million in its 49-acre refining complex. This makes its parent company CJ Chieljedang the largest lysine manufacturer in the world, with plants in China and Brazil, producing 700,000 metric tons annually, 30 percent of the world's supply. K). Cargill has room on its campus for several additional over-the-fence partners and looking for them, which would additional construction, product developments and employment to the region. As Dennis Plautz, chief executive officer for the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance said Tuesday: "The largest privately held company in the United States has partnered with the largest lysine manufacturing plant in the world. “Go tell your friends."

 
 

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