CARGILL, SO. KOREA'S CJ BIO INVESTING $600 MILLION IN NEW IOWA PLANT
Jun. 26, 2014
Des Moines Register reports:
Corporate, state and local leaders said they hope CJ Bio America and Cargill Corp.'s $600 million investment in this north-central Iowa city is just the beginning.
They have reason for optimism. Minneapolis-based Cargill's U.S. biorefinery campuses employ hundreds of workers.
"We've seen what you've done in Eddyville, Iowa, and Blair, Nebraska, and we think Fort Dodge could be even better," Gov. Terry Branstad told corporate leaders.
David MacLennan, Cargill's CEO, told reporters that Cargill and neighboring businesses that use its co-products employ nearly 1,000 workers in Blair.
Cargill has invested nearly $1 billion since the Blair campus was announced in 2000.
"This is a good business for us," MacLennan said. "We have committed a significant amount of time, capital and people in Fort Dodge. It's an opportunity to grow."
MacLennan said the Fort Dodge campus has the same kind of potential as Blair. "You could see hundreds of additional jobs are possible," he said.
Already, the Cargill and CJ Bio America plants employ about 320 workers, leaders said.
Cargill produces 115 million gallons of ethanol annually as well as livestock feed.
And CJ Bio America takes Cargill's dextrose and produces 100,000 metric tons of lysine per year.
The protein is used as a supplement in swine and poultry feed to help animals grow.
Kyung-Shik Sohn, chairman of the South Korean-based CJ Group, said the $320 million plant makes the company the global leader in lysine production.
The projects are already creating about $132 million in economic development activity each year, said Dennis Plautz, who leads Fort Dodge's economic development efforts.
The business park, with nearly 500 acres available for development, has the potential to bring more high-paying, high-tech jobs to the region.
The park has room for as many as a dozen companies to locate there, officials said.
Alan Viaene, a Cargill assistant vice president, said companies that locate near each other find many advantages.
"It's a commitment," said Viaene. "You don't have transportation costs and you can pass the savings on to customers. From a sales perspective, you've agreed to a long-term relationship. When you invest $300 million in a facility and put it right next door, it's a commitment.
"Now it's just really about fostering the relationship and growing it more," he said.
"It's a model that works and we'll continue to replicate," said MacLennan, noting that the company recently opened a new facility in Brazil.
MacLennan said the company will seek new businesses to locate on the campus. "We've had conversations with other potential partners," he said.
Viaene said Cargill is marketing the campus, but added that customers also come to Cargill. "It's a two-way street," he said.
Debi Durham, the state's economic development leader, also said a couple of large companies are interested in Fort Dodge.
"You've got land, you've got a rich infrastructure," she said. "Fort Dodge is ready for development. ... We'll not be satisfied until this entire park is full."
Ernie Goss, a Creighton University economist, said the biorefinery campus builds on Iowa's strengths.
"It adds to Iowa's competitive advantage, which is agriculture," he said.