250-Acre Agro-Industrial Park Planned for Indiana

A major multinational corporation that considered a 240-acre site in east Allen County for a soybean processing plant now plans to build on 250 acres in Kosciusko County.

Executives of a Louis Dreyfus Corp. subsidiary unveiled the plans Monday at a Lions Club in Claypool. They told area residents the company is ready to spend $100 million on the plant and first development phase for a 250-acre agro-industrial park just southwest of the town.

A statement said the plant would employ 60 and process more than 140,000 bushels a day.

It said the company also plans to build a biodiesel plant there capable of processing 80 million gallons annually, and a 100-million gallon ethanol plant, in the second and third phases of development.

"Additional phases of development could include production of edible plastics and other leading-edge technologies," the statement said.

"Co-location of the various processing industries improves efficiency and provides cost savings. The Louis Dreyfus vision for this site is to make it the center of agricultural processing for northern Indiana and to be the world model for performing the most cost-efficient, environmentally friendly agricultural processing."

Executives would not elaborate on the statement. It said investment decisions for all the park's future development phases would depend "on costs, government incentives and government permits."

Allen County officials said in October the search for a soy processing plant site here had not reached the point of requests for economic development incentives. They said at the time the county might be willing to improve roads to accommodate the increased traffic.

Officials had said they were concerned, however, federal air-quality standards might make it more difficult for a large industrial facility to open here.

The federal government considered Allen County to be out of compliance with acceptable levels for ozone, a precursor to smog. Officials were investigating whether a company could be found that would be willing to transfer some of its emission permit to the new company, if necessary.

The statement said the plant's annual production of 250,000 tons of soybean oil would reduce costs to Indiana food manufacturing businesses.

It also said the plant would produce more than 1 million tons of soybean meal each year, reducing feed costs for livestock and poultry producers.

Construction of the plant and infrastructure is expected to employ about 300 for 12 to 18 months.

3-stage plan
Louis Dreyfus Corp. agro-industrial park:

--Phase 1: $100 million plant will process 50 million bushels of soybeans annually.

--Phase 2: Biodiesel plant will process 80 million gallons annually.

--Phase 3: Ethanol plant will process 100 million gallons annually.