CJ Bio America is booming

Monday, November 05, 2018

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Two major construction projects are under way at the CJ Bio America Webster County plant. Both illustrate why this major manufacturing facility is destined to play an important role in the economic future of our community and region.

A $53 million addition to the huge main plant is being built with an expected completion date in the first quarter of 2019. This enhancement will enable the diversification of the product lines. An amino acid called L-Threonine, which is an additive for livestock, will be produced. This increased manufacturing capability is expected to increase the company’s Webster County work force by about 20 jobs.

According to Luke Palmer, CJ Bio America’s senior operations manager at the Webster County plant, the expanded facility will increase fermentation, refining and warehouse capabilities.

That’s important because the Webster County CJ Bio America plant is shaping up as the centerpiece of CJ CheilJedang’s rapidly growing market presence in North America and internationally. This huge South Korea-based company, which owns the local plant, has a multifaceted manufacturing agenda. Bio products are a key part of its business and are expected to grow in importance in the years ahead.

“The goal for this site is to be the flagship for CJ Bio in North America for our bio business,” Palmer told The Messenger earlier this month. “In order to do that we need to be able to have the entire amino acid portfolio that we make globally. This is just one step in the long-term plan of having multiple product lines here in Fort Dodge.”

The commitment the company is making to north central Iowa is underlined by a second major construction project nearing completion at its Webster County site. A 10,000-square-foot fitness center for employees and their family members is being built on the northwest corner of the property in a building separate from the plant.

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