WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels has announced that Louis Dreyfus Agriculture Industries LLC plans to build the world's largest biodiesel plant near Claypool, Ind.

With this facility, two other biodiesel and six ethanol plants currently under construction, Indiana will become a leading producer in the biofuels industry.

"It's been a hectic year of dramatic progress in renewable fuels development in our state. If Indiana can do this, think what America can do to work toward energy self-sufficiency," Daniels said. "In just 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."

Daniels made the announcement during his remarks at the 2nd National Agriculture/Forestry Renewable Energy Summit in Washington, D.C.

Through the Indiana Economic Development Corporation and the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, the state has reached an agreement with Louis Dreyfus to build the project in two phases. The first will be a 50-million bushel per year soybean processing plant, and the second phase will be the biodiesel production facility. The facilities will be located near Claypool in Kosciusko County in northeastern Indiana. The plant will use Indiana soybeans.

Upon completion, the Louis Dreyfus facility will be one of the world's first biodiesel production plants to be fully integrated with a soybean processing plant. About 260,000 metric tons of soybean oil from the plant will be used each year for biodiesel production.

The biodiesel plant will produce up to 250,000 gallons of biodiesel per day, or more than 80 million gallons per year. Eighty-five ongoing jobs will be created at the plant, and it is estimated that 300 people will be employed during the 12- to 18-month construction phase of the facility.

"We believe Claypool represents an ideal site for this investment in the growing and dynamic biofuels space," 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 for this facility."

Louis Dreyfus, founded in 1851, operates in more than 50 countries. Its major international offices are located in Paris, London, Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo and Beijing. In the United States, Louis Dreyfus operates export elevators in Houston and Beaumont, Texas, and in Seattle, Wash., with grain elevators on the Illinois River.

Indiana is the fifth largest corn state and the fourth largest soybean state and with the facilities under construction, the state will produce an additional 400 million gallons of ethanol annually and 95 million gallons of biodiesel (including Louis Dreyfus). Indiana's goal is to produce a combined 1 billion gallons of ethanol and biodiesel annually.

Indiana Soybean Boards says all farmers benefit

"This announcement is extremely good news for all Indiana farmers," says Chris Novak, executive director of the Indiana Soybean Board. "Indiana is getting a soybean processing facility and a biodiesel production facility. To have both planned for construction is unprecedented in the U.S. today."

Novak said soybean farmers will benefit greatly from the plant, because farmers have an opportunity to sell their soybeans locally and receive a better price because of lower transportation costs.

In addition, livestock producers should benefit because the soybean processing plant will produce not only soybean oil that will be used for the biodiesel facility, but 1 million tons of soybean meal a year that will support the growth of Indiana's livestock and poultry industry.

Indiana soybean farmers have been funding biodiesel promotion, research and education programs for more than 10 years through the soybean checkoff program. Novak says one of the challenges in promoting biodiesel use has been the inability to guarantee a readily available supply to end-users.

The Indiana Soybean Board works to enhance the profitability of soybean farmers by pioneering soybean research and marketing programs in the areas of livestock production, grain marketing, biofuels, and new soy uses. ISB is comprised of 36 elected farmer-leaders serving to direct effective and efficient investments of the soybean checkoff funds on behalf of more than 28,000 Hoosier soybean farmers.

SOURCE: News releases from the Indiana Governor's office and the Indiana Soybean Board.