West Central Cooperative of Ralston, Iowa set a goal to create extra value for their members and customers. It was the search for innovative, value-added products and processes that led West Central Soy, West Central Cooperative's soy processing division, to methyl ester processing and biodiesel production. Iowa's first soy biodiesel production plant began producing biodiesel in Ralston in 1996. West Central believed there was tremendous growth potential for environmentally preferred cleaners and alternative fuels like biodiesel. West Central’s biofuels division was spun off as Renewable Energy Group in 2003, which went public in 2012 and is now part of Chevron.