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Iowa Bioprocessing Center: Value-Added Agriculture

Iowa South is home to a diverse economy that embraces technology in a region known for its agricultural roots. The Iowa Bioprocessing Center is the perfect blend, creating a 1,600-acre agrotechnology campus that has attracted nearly $2 billion in investments from international companies.

Sometimes called the Eddyville Complex, the IBC is located near Eddyville where Monroe, Wapello and Mahaska counties meet. The nonprofit Indian Hills Regional Development Corporation (IHRD) promotes cooperative efforts between the three counties with a focus on the IBC.

“It’s really a regional driver of economic development,” says Dan Tometich, executive director of Albia Industrial Development Corporation and a member of the IHRD.

Tometich says the visionary, multinational project began more than three decades ago when global food giant Cargill Inc. first came to the area. With an abundant supply of corn available nearby, the IBC land also included an old coal power plant no longer in service that Cargill could use for power and steam in their corn wet milling process.

Over time, Cargill was joined by Ajinomoto Animal Nutrition, Ajinomoto Health Nutrition and Wacker Chemical, which all utilize biomanufacturing processes. Tometich refers to the manufacturers as “over the fence companies” with a symbiotic relationship. Cargill provides the others with some of the raw materials needed for their own products.

“The Ajinomoto companies and Wacker came because Cargill was here,” Tometich notes. More recently, he continues, Eddyville Chlor-Alkali, which provides caustic soda and hydrochloric acid to Cargill and other companies, joined the campus.

To say the IBC has been a success is an understatement. The long list of products and processes originating from the campus is used in diverse applications from household products to health supplements – and the list just keeps getting longer. “In May 2020, Cargill announced a new product and new plant coming, representing a $233 million investment,” Tometich says.

The best news, he adds, is there is still room to build. “It’s a great place to grow a plant and grow a family,” he says of tapping into the skilled workforce and attractive quality of life available in Iowa South.

Courtesy of Livability

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Mahaska, Monroe, Wapello

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