Buchanan County is in the running for a 90-million dollar seed corn production facility proposed for northeast Iowa. Monsanto has identified a site near Independence as the lead location for the new plant. Monsanto spokesman Darrin Wallis says the St. Louis-based corporation is in discussions to purchase land.
Wallis says the plant will go on 150 acres of land in a still-unspecified location, bringing 40 full-time positions and 800 seasonal opportunities. He says there are many elements already in place that make the site near Independence the front-runner over others considered in Buchanan County. He says key elements include: good roads, good access to utilities like gas and electricity, and good access to corn growers.
The company originally picked a site south of Waterloo in Black Hawk County for the project, but backed out in late January. The move comes after a county board rejected Monsanto’s rezoning request for the site and after some residents voiced their objections to the location during a public information meeting. Wallis is encouraging Buchanan County residents to attend a similar informational meeting in Independence in two weeks.
That meeting is scheduled for April 16th from 6:30 to 8 P.M. Monsanto wants to break ground on the new plant as soon as possible, but Wallis says an exact time frame hasn’t been set. The company wants the facility operational in 2010 while production in Boone and Grinnell is being scaled to meet demand. Wallis says the project is part of a 230-million dollar investment Monsanto is making in Iowa. In addition to the new plant, the company is expanding current facilities in Boone and Grinnell and work was recently finished on enlarging the global research center in Ankeny.