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Although Mid-America Biofuels was formed in 2005, the groundwork for this project was started thirteen years before. From the initial checkoff dollars funding a research program to the culmination of shipping the first load of biodiesel, many people have worked extremely hard to see this plant come to fruition.
"Missouri soybean farmers took the lead in biodiesel research over a decade ago with their very own checkoff dollars. They discovered a major new use for excess soybean oil in 1992. Since that initial investment, Missouri soybean farmers have continued the goal of furthering biodiesel production here in the state, with the help of a great team of Missouri legislators," said Dale Ludwig.
Thirteen years of work culminated in an equity drive in 2005, in which nearly 400 agricultural producers in Missouri purchased shares in Biofuels, LLC, which formed the joint venture, Mid-America Biofuels, LLC, between Archer Daniels Midland Company; Ray-Carroll County Grain Growers, Inc.; MFA Oil Company; and Growmark, Inc.
"Mid-America Biofuels wouldn't be here today if it weren't for a select group of individuals with a commitment toward the success of this venture," said Warren Stemme, St. Louis-county farmer and chairman of Mid-America Biofuels, LLC. "This plant gives Missouri soybean farmers a chance to be leaders in their industry."
"We've put together a unique model for biodiesel production and sales," said Ludwig. "Each partner not only has ownership, but will also play a key role in making this business prosper."
At the ground breaking ceremony on October 24, 2005, MAB estimated 12-14 months for construction, and as prep work for pouring foundations started in November everyone had aspirations of the plant running before the end of 2006. Exactly one year later on October 24, 2006 a grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony was held at the Mexico, MO facility. The facility shipped its first load of biodiesel in December 2006 and has joined the race to make Missouri a leading producer of renewable fuels.
One of the top priorities at the plant is a commitment to producing superior biodiesel. According to General Manager Cliff Smith, quality control will play a pivotal role in the plant's success. "As an industry, biodiesel is still in its infancy. This means that quality is of the utmost importance. If a production facility delivered an inferior product, then it would not only make that particular operation look bad, but it could also affect the perception of the industry as a whole. For this reason, it's crucial to take the proper precautions to ensure quality assurance," stated Smith. With the BQ 9000 Accredited Producer certification, customers can be assured that they are receiving a high quality biodiesel.