Archer Daniels Midland Decatur Plant, Illinois

At 1,125 acres, this is one of the largest of ADM's 200+ manufacturing facilities worldwide. The company principally purchases raw farm products, the big American staples like wheat, corn, and soy, and transforms them into ingredients that are sold in bulk to other food manufacturing, processing, and packaging companies. There are three distinct plants within the Decatur complex, connected to each other by pipelines. These in turn are connected to the farmlands of America along railway lines that carry ADM's fleet of 28,000 railcars, and roads carrying the company's 1,400 trailers. In addition, ADM owns over 2,500 river barges, said to be the largest fleet in the world, and 31 ocean-going ships. Corn and soy are processed here at a rate of 600,000 and 200,000 bushels a day, respectively. The East Plant processes mostly corn and produces ingredients familiar in name to any American that reads processed food labels: citric acid and lactic acid (acidulants in food products); xanthan gum (adds texture and stability to things like dairy foods and bottled dressings); dextrose (a sweetener); sorbitol (a sugar free sweetener); and corn syrup. Other products made at Decatur include ethanol (a fuel additive), and lysine (widely used as a food supplement at animal feed lots). ADM is one of the largest agribusiness companies in the world. It’s headquarters moved from Decatur to Chicago in 2014.