More than 500 people packed a meeting in Buchanan County last night to learn Monsanto plans to build a facility just west of the Independence airport. The 90-million-dollar seed corn plant was considered for the Waterloo area but was rejected due to opposition.

Buchanan County Supervisor Mike Ferreter says the Independence area was economically hurt when Tyson closed its factory there. Ferreter says: "That gave us a big void. We needed Monsanto to come in now and maybe cover that void."

Bill Versluis, owner of Bill’s Pizza and Steakhouse in Independence, agrees, saying the town could use the boost. Versluis says, "When Tyson left it was kind of hard on the community, so anything new and exciting coming to our community is going to be great."

St. Louis-based Monsanto plans to create 40 full-time jobs and more than 800 part-time seasonal jobs with the factory. Plus, Ferreter says there’s the possibility of recruiting more companies to follow in Monsanto’s corporate footsteps.

Ferreter says, "I hear a lot of times companies follow Monsanto, anywhere from one to five companies will come in right after Monsanto comes into a community." Monsanto still needs to get government approval to build near the Independence airport. The company has two other Iowa seed corn production facilities in Boone and Grinnell and a research center in Ankeny.