Monsanto expanding Iowa herbicide production facility

Monsanto expanding Iowa herbicide production facility

Monsanto's Muscatine plant will produce next-generation weed control products for new Roundup Ready Xtend Crop System.

Monsanto is expanding its herbicide manufacturing plant at Muscatine in eastern Iowa to handle the formulations and packaging for the launch of the company's dicamba-tolerant trait technologies. The first two products, Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans and Bollgard II XtendFlex cotton, were deregulated by USDA on January 20. Approval by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is still pending. Monsanto expects to launch Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans in 2016.

EXPANSION: Monsanto is expanding its herbicide manufacturing facility at Muscatine in eastern Iowa in anticipation of EPA approval of the company's dicamba chemistries. New Roundup Xtend weed control system will be used with crops that have dicamba trait technology.

These new weed management solutions will provide farmers with more consistent, flexible control of tough-to-manage broadleaf weeds and help them achieve better harvests, says John Combest, Monsanto communications director for crop protection and applications. The system will control glyphosate-resistant weeds such as Palmer amaranth, waterhemp and marestail, along with other tough-to-control broadleaf weeds such as lambsquarters and velvetleaf.

Aims to launch new soybeans in 2016, corn in several years
Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans is the industry's first biotech-stacked soybean trait with both dicamba and glyphosate herbicide tolerance.

So far, the company's regulatory requests for approval by USDA and EPA have been for Xtend for soybeans and cotton, says Combest. Monsanto's dicamba-tolerant corn is still in the company's development pipeline. Specifically, the dicamba corn trait is in Phase 3 of four phases of development which means it will likely be another several years before Roundup Ready Xtend corn will be ready to be introduced commercially. That corn will be tolerant to glyphosate, of course, as well as dicamba and glufosinate.

Expansion will help boost Iowa as leader in ag biotech
Monsanto's action to expand the capacity of the Muscatine herbicide manufacturing plant follows the Iowa Economic Development Authority's announcement in November that it will provide incentives to Monsanto for the expansion. The project is expected to create additional full-time jobs in Muscatine with hiring to begin in spring to support the project. "Our agency is proud to support Monsanto's expansion in Muscatine," says IEDA director Debi Durham. "Iowa is a leader in the ag-biotech space and Monsanto's project is a great example of why."

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Opened in 1961, the Muscatine facility currently employs over 400 full-time workers. The facility encompasses more than 500 acres of land and produces both selective chemistry products and glyphosate herbicide products in Monsanto's crop protection portfolio. Examples include Warrant, Degree, Harness, WeatherMax and PowerMax.

Expansion will create additional quality jobs for Iowans
"Monsanto is a valued job creator in Iowa and continues to invest in its operation and in Iowans with the creation of quality, high-paying jobs," says Gov. Terry Branstad. Lieutenant Gov. Kim Reynolds added, "Monsanto's continued commitment to Iowa and particularly the facility in southeast Iowa is so important to the regional and statewide economy."

"Iowa is fortunate to have innovative companies, like Monsanto, that help farmers continue to become even more productive while reducing their environmental impact," says Iowa Ag Secretary Bill Northey. "This significant investment will help make sure farmers have access to choices that help increase yields and improve profitability."

Muscatine plant has been in operation for over 50 years
"This plant has been in operation in eastern Iowa for more than 50 years, and by bringing this project to Muscatine, this is a vote of confidence that the plant team will continue to safely deliver high-quality products that provide solutions to our customers," said Shawn Schrader, Muscatine plant manager.

About Monsanto Company: Monsanto is committed to bringing a broad range of solutions to help nourish a growing world, says the company's mission statement. The company produces seeds for fruits, vegetables and key crops such as corn, soybeans and cotton that help farmers have better harvests while using water and other important resources more efficiently. Monsanto officials say the company works to find sustainable solutions for soil health, helps farmers use data to improve farming practices and conserve natural resources, and provides crop protection products to minimize damage from pests and disease. "Through programs and partnerships, Monsanto collaborates with farmers, researchers, nonprofit organizations, universities and others to help tackle some of the world's biggest challenges," says a press release announcing plans to expand the Muscatine plant.

To learn more about Monsanto, its commitments and more than 20,000 dedicated employees visit discover.monsanto.com and monsanto.com. Follow on Twitter at twitter.com/MonsantoCo, on the company blog, Beyond the Rows at monsantoblog.com.

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