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A world-class partnership begins

By Staff | Jun 26, 2014

CJ Bio America Chairman Kyung-Shik Sohn, left, stops to chat with Iowa Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds during the CJ Bio America/Cargill grand opening celebration Tuesday afternoon. Gov. Terry Branstad looks over his ribbon cutting scissors, center.

FORT DODGE – The largest privately held company in the United States has partnered with the largest lysine manufacturing plant in the world.

“Go tell your friends,” said Dennis Plautz, chief executive officer of the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance, acting as master of ceremonies Tuesday afternoon at a ribbon-cutting and celebration of the opening of the Cargill and CJ Bio America plants in the ag industrial park northwest of Fort Dodge.

David MacLennan, president and CEO of Cargill, said the 115 million gallon ethanol plant the company has opened “shows our commitment to Iowa’s agricultural economy.”

The company invested $300 million to renovate an existing wet-milling plant – the former Tate & Lyle plant – and now employs 250 workers, roughly 160 of its own workers and another 90 embedded contractors.

More than 100 of the employees were hired from the local area, said Al Viaene, Cargill’s plant manager in Fort Dodge.

CJ Bio America General Affairs Manager Luke Palmer, at left, leads a tour Tuesday afternoon through the company’s finished product warehouse. The large bags contain lysine.

Viaene said the workforce, “is one of the best I’ve worked with in my 30 years in the industry.”

Kjung-Shik Sohn, president and CEO of the Korea-based CJ Chieljedang, parent company of CJ Bio?America, said his company chose to open its first North American site in Iowa because:

n The majority of its customers were in this region.

n It could partner with Cargill to supply the dextrose it needs for producing its primary product, lysine for swine and poultry feed.

n The cooperation of Iowa’s state and local government leaders who paved the way to create CJ’s Iowa presence.

MacLennan said Cargill and CJ “will harness our investments for value-added products.”

He said the Fort Dodge facility has already shipped a load of ethanol to Nigeria.

Cargill’s first unit train of its Sweet Brand cattle feed is due to be shipped in July.

Gov. Terry Branstad, told a gathering of state and civic leaders, employees from both companies and media that such relationships like Cargill and CJ?Bio America are a model the state will continue to seek in the future.

Debi Durham, director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority, said there is more space to fill to create more over-the-fence partners with Cargill.

“We’ll celebrate today,”?Durham said, “but we’re not done.

“We won’t be satisfied until the entire park is filled.”

There is another 450 acres of available ag industry space in what is called the Crossroads of Global Innovation.

Durham said there could be a minimum of another nine companies that can develop in that space.

CJ?Bio America bagged its first package of lysine product on Nov. 1, 2013.

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