State officials on Thursday approved awards to a host of planned or proposed projects that could create nearly 600 new jobs across Iowa. The largest award of $1.8 million in direct financial assistance, plus tax incentives, will help South Korean-based company C.J. Corporation build an amino acids plant in Fort Dodge.

Debi Durham, director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority, says the project follows recent visits by herself, the governor and lieutenant governor to Korea. “Making an effort to go see them at their corporate headquarters twice in three months, I think, certainly sent the message to C.J. that we intend to be partners, not just initially, but long term,” Durham told Radio Iowa.

Amino acids are used in feed additives for livestock. The Fort Dodge project is expected to create 180 jobs. The Iowa Economic Development Authority Board also approved tax incentives to help Cedar River Poultry in Charles City upgrade its plant to meet U.S.D.A. specifications.

Durham says the project is expected to create 140 jobs. The board approved $40,000 in direct financial assistance, plus tax incentives, to help Link Snacks, Inc. expand in Underwood. The meat snack manufacturer plans to establish a second distribution center in Iowa. The company’s other center is in Laurens.

Durham said the project’s capital investment is around $9.4 million and the move will create 131 jobs. The board awarded incentives to other projected located in Des Moines, Coralville, Urbandale, Davenport and Independence.

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