As I have written elsewhere, the US biodiesel industry is going through its first sea change. The industry has largely been characterized to date by smaller production facilities built on custom technology. The typical biodiesel plant was owned by soybean farmers and built on first of its kind biodiesel processor technology. With the introduction of excise tax credits in the 2004 JOBS Bill, and the persistent high price of petroleum, the biodiesel industry has seen a lot of interest recently. Private investors and larger public companies are investing in biodiesel plants, which is pushing the industry towards larger production facilities built on the best technologies available from outside companies. ADM's announcement of its plans to build a 50 million gallon per year biodiesel production facility in North Dakota (http://www.admworld.com/naen/pressroom/) is further evidence of this trend.
In order to be successful in today's biodiesel industry, great care must be taken to select appropriate biodiesel processor technology and to secure a source of reliable and reasonably priced feedstock. This will enable market entrants to compete effectively with the high quality, high volume biodiesel product that the market is moving towards.
As Cargill, and now ADM, move into biodiesel production, competition for the primary US biodiesel feedstock, virgin soybean oil, will increase. I think it goes without saying that these companies will prioritize supplying their plants over independent plants. Plan accordingly.