CJ Bio America plans $20M expansion

More jobs, production capacity coming

-Submitted photo
CJ Bio America is planning to invest more than $20 million in its Webster County plant, which will result in increased production beginning in January 2022.

CJ Bio America is planning to invest about $20 million in its Webster County plant so that it can make more of an amino acid that’s added to some types of livestock feed.

Construction is expected to be finished in September, with the increased production scheduled to start in January 2022.

The project will create 25 or 26 new jobs, according to Dennis Plautz, the chief executive officer of the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance. He said about 20 people have been hired already.

The company now employs 220 people.

Luke Palmer, the company’s senior operations manager, said the expansion will enable the company to better compete in a sometimes volatile market and better serve its customers.

“I think it shows how committed CJ Bio is to growing the business in the community and helping the community to also grow,” he said. “We truly want the community to grow with us.”

Webster County Supervisor Mark Campbell said the planned expansion is “a prime example of what collaboration can do in Webster County.”

“The company continues to expand and increase its commitment to our region and its employees,” he added.

The CJ Bio America plant in the ag industrial park west of Fort Dodge called Iowa’s Crossroads of Global Innovation opened in 2013. A $51 million expansion was completed in 2018-2019.

“They have done everything as a company that they said they would when we went to Seoul, South Korea, to recruit them,” Plautz said.

The plant produces the amino acids lysine and threonine, which are added to feed for swine and poultry. Palmer said the amino acids promote better muscle growth in the animals.

The plant also produces a liquid soil amendment, which Palmer said is actually a byproduct of making lysine. He said it adds nitrogen back to the soil.

Palmer said the planned expansion will enable the plant to make more threonine.

He said the new production area will be directly south of the current plant.

The project will be a $20,445,000 investment for the company.

According to information submitted to the Iowa Economic Development Authority, that investment includes:

• $11,435,000 in manufacturing machinery and equipment.

• $8,890,000 in building construction.

• $120,000 in computer hardware.

The company is seeking $408,900 in investment tax credits from the state.

It is also seeking a refund of sales, service and use taxes paid during construction. That amount is estimated at $266,700.

On Tuesday, the Webster County of Board of Supervisors will consider a measure that would eventually clear the way for a property tax rebate. Campbell said the plan is to give back to the company 70 percent of the new property taxes it would be paying as a result of the expansion. He said that rebate would be in place for 10 years.


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