When the Bluffton ethanol plant changed ownership last year from Green Plains to Valero, it decided not to pursue renewing its contract with Cargill.

“Valero kept the contract until ended at the end of August,” said Brian Leydens, manager for grain procurement at the Bluffton plant.

Valero has 14 different ethanol plants and at 11 others the company sources its own grain.

“So we’re going to be buying directly from the farmer and commercial grain elevators,” Leydens said, “Instead of hiring a third party to do it.”

Cargill never actually had a facility at the ethanol plant. “All they had was a phone number,” Leydens said. “All of the assets here belong to Valero. Cargill is very good at what they do, but when you hire someone to do something for you that ultimately you can do yourself, you’re paying for it,” he added.

Farmers and grain elevators that still want to market their corn through Valero need to contact Leydens to get set up as new vendors. “That will be along with their W-9 information and payment method — cash, check or direct deposit,” he said.

New scale cards will have to be issued to the vendors.

“We would like to get them set up for communication, whether e-mail or text messaging,” Leydens said.Vendors can call him at his office at Valero at at 260-353-1238 or send him an email at Brian.Leydens@valero.com.

“Once get set up we’re going to have a website where you can just go in and click the buttons and make it happen. We’re still working on that,” he said. He’s in Minneapolis this week meeting with some of the corporate representatives from Valero and setting up the website is going to bve one of the topics of discussion.

The plant is in “turn around” right now, Leydens said. There are some maintenance and repairs, upgrades and repairs going on right now.

“This is the first chance since Valero bought it from Green Plains that they’ve been able to go in and do things they want to with the plant.”
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