|By ANN ALLEN
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Indiana’s pace of rapid growth in bioenergy and energy self-sufficiency took a step forward last week when Gov. Mitch Daniels announced that Louis Dreyfus Agriculture Industries LLD will build the world’s largest biodiesel plant near Claypool, Ind., a Kosciusko County community in the northeastern part of the state.
With this facility plus two other biodiesel and six ethanol plants currently under construction, Indiana will become a leading producer in the biofuels industry.
Describing the past year as one of dramatic progress in renewable fuels development in the state, Daniels told the National Agriculture/Forestry Renewable Energy Summit, “If Indiana can do this, think what America can do to work toward energy self-sufficiency. In one year, we’re growing from one alternative fuels plant to nine, with more to come. We said our ag sector would be a big part of our economic comeback, and here’s the proof.”
The $135 million Claypool plant will be built in two phases - a 50-million bushel per year soybean processing plant, followed by the biodiesel production facility. A spokesperson in the governor’s office expects a spring groundbreaking with the first phase to be online in time for the 2007 harvest.
Louis Dreyfus officials predict the plant will create 85 ongoing jobs with at least 300 people employed during the 12-18 month construction phase.
“We believe Claypool represents an ideal site for this investment,” said Erik Anderson, CEO of Louis Dreyfus Commodities North America. “Ample soybean supplies coupled with deep local markets for feed and biodiesel consumption made Indiana our top choice.”
Louis Dreyfus, a French company founded in 1851, operates in more than 50 countries with major offices in Paris, London, Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo and Beijing. It has grain elevators on the Illinois River and export elevators in Houston and Beaumont, Texas, and Seattle.
Joining the governor and Louis Dreyfus officials in praising the site are area farmers, including Kip Tom, president of Tom Farms, a family business with seed corn production operations in the United States and Argentina.
“This is a project that has taken significant effort on the part of the Indiana Economic Development Corp. (IECD) and participation with the governor, lieutenant governor, the agriculture department and Louis Dreyfus to bring to fruition,” Tom said from his farm in Leesburg, Ind.
“The state of Indiana recognizes its value, knowing it will contribute to the agriculture industry and related industries.”
Tom, a member of IECD’s board of directors, added, “This is a very positive move. The plant’s daily consumption of 150,000 bushels of soybeans will raise prices to producers and, in certain areas, it will lower the price of soybean meal. At the same time, it will help the state and nation become more energy independent by producing biodiesel.”
The IECD offered economic development incentives, including up to $95,000 in training grants, $137,500 in infrastructure assistance to the Claypool community and up to $5.295 million in tax credits based on anticipated employment and capital investment levels.
This farm news was published in the March 15, 2006 issue of Farm World.