There is good economic news in Webster County.
Earlier this month two major manufacturing plants in the agricultural industrial park just west of Fort Dodge both moved closer to full operation.
Cargill announced on Nov. 4 that it has begun manufacturing operations at its corn wet mill plant.
"We are excited to be operational in Fort Dodge," said Al Viaene, Fort Dodge facility manager for Cargill Corn Milling North America. "When full production capacity is reached, the plant will consume 150,000 bushels of corn a day and turn out five products including dextrose, ethanol and SweetBran feed for cattle."
Originally, the facility was built by Tate & Lyle, but was never brought online. It was purchased by Cargill in 2011 and has been being readied for use by its new owners for many months. Full production may be achieved by as early as December, according to information provided by the company. When fully staffed, the local Cargill plant is expected to have a work force of 150.
CJ Bio America's Fort Dodge plant, located near Cargill, is scheduled for full operation by the end of this year. It moved closer to that goal this month. On Nov. 1, the company successfully manufactured the first finished quantity of lysine, an amino acid that will be used in animal feed. At full capacity, the $323 million facility will produce 100,000 metric tons of lysine per year.
"I am happy to announce that we've successfully manufactured CJ's first U.S. production of lysine here in Fort Dodge in accordance with our timeline," Jung Tak Nam, president and chief executive officer of CJ Bio America, said in a press release. "This was possible not only because of all the efforts of our dedicated employees and contractors, but also because of great support from the city of Fort Dodge, Webster County, the surrounding communities and the state of Iowa. I would like to extend a thank you and hope that we continue to grow together."
CJ Bio America is expected to have a work force of about 170 when fully operational.
That Cargill and CJ Bio America will soon be fully up and running underlines the importance of the growth strategy being pursued effectively by the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance in collaboration with city, county and state officials.
A major component of the game plan for Webster County is the North Central Ag Industrial Park - Iowa Crossroads of Global Innovation - west of the city. Already home to Cargill, CJ Bio America and Valero, it promises to be a powerful magnet for further corporate investment.
The Messenger congratulates Cargill and CJ Bio America on the impressive forward strides they have taken this month. Their local investment and strong commitment to the economic growth of our part of the state are dramatic evidence that the future of Fort Dodge and Webster County is looking very bright indeed.