By ANN ALLEN
CLAYPOOL, Ind. — Louis Dreyfus Commodities, which operates the world’s largest biodiesel plant near Claypool in Kosciusko County, will be a presence at the Fort Wayne Farm Show but will not have a booth.
“There was a mix-up,” said Jeremy Mullins, commercial manager of the French-based agricultural giant, “but we plan to be there to greet show visitors.”
The Claypool facility opened in 2007 as one of the world’s first biodiesel production plants to be fully integrated with a soybean processing plant. It currently has 100 employees who, so far this year, have handled 60 million bushels of soybeans.
“We’ve been up in numbers every year since we opened,” Mullins said. “We expected a bad crop this year, but it turned out to be very good.” (At the time of this interview, he said beans were worth $14.90 per bushel.)
Built on a 250-acre site southwest of Claypool, the $150 million facility is a sprawling complex of buildings – at least one of which is 10 stories tall – and storage bins, including two circular ground storage units. Each of those holds one million bushels of beans.
An additional three miles of railroad track, enough to hold 225 railcars, was added when the plant was constructed. State Road 15, which provides truck access to the firm, has been updated twice to handle traffic.
By being integrated, the Claypool operation can buy locally produced soybeans for processing into two primary products: soybean meal and soybean oil that is converted to biodiesel.
“By processing multiple soybean products we are creating value in every step of the production process,” company officials stated.
To demonstrate the capacity of the Claypool plant, they determined a person could drive 3.5 billion miles, or around the world 140,000 times, with the amount of fuel produced there.
The plant can crush more than 17 percent of Indiana’s annual soybean crop and produce one million tons of soybean meal used in livestock feed. And it can produce more than 88 million gallons of soybean-based biodiesel, recognized as the alternative fuel that meets requirements of the Clean Air Act.
Louis Dreyfus Commodities, a leading merchandiser and trader in agricultural commodities since 1851, has offices in Beijing, Buenos Aires, Delhi, Geneva, Memphis, Paris, Sao Paulo, Singapore and Wilton, Conn., giving it a major agricultural presence in 53 countries. Its 34,000 employees work in diversified operations, including biofuel, citrus, cotton, coffee and sugar.
The team representing its Claypool plant will be the ones telling the world LDC proudly uses American soybeans to fuel the world.
To learn more about the company, attend the farm show Jan. 15-17 or visit www.ldcommodities.com