DECATUR, ILL. — Archer Daniels Midland Co. is building a plant within its Decatur processing complex to further refine crude vegetable oil into an acidulated form the company said improves the nutritional value of animal feeds and may allow livestock feeders to use less grain in their animals’ rations.

ADM said it will invest more than $6.5 million to build the facility, which is currently slated for completion in the second half of 2014. The plant will have a production capacity of 800,000 lbs per day, and include a new loading station for trucks and railcars. ADM already produces the ingredient commonly known as “acid oil” at refineries in Enderlin, N.D.; Quincy, Ill.; and Windsor, Ont.

A pound of acid oil contains approximately two-and-a-half times the calories of a pound of corn, which allows livestock producers to save costs by substituting acid oil for a portion of the grain normally used in their animals’ rations, ADM said. Acid oil also is used in industrial applications, such as lubricants. The Decatur facility will produce acid oil from the raw soapstock that is a naturally occurring co-product of the vegetable oil-refining process.

“We at ADM are continually evaluating our process streams to determine how we can provide additional value to our food, feed and industrial customers,” said Ray Bradbury, vice-president of the company’s North American Oils group. “We’re confident our integrated business model and deep experience in acid-oil production will enable us to deliver a quality product that’s competitively priced.”