Bayer cancels nearly $1 billion expansion in Luling

Aerial view of Bayer's Luling facility.

Officials with Bayer Crop Science, a division which acquired Monsanto Co., confirmed this morning that the major nearly $1 billion expansion at its Luling chemical plant has been cancelled.

Set to open in 2021, the expansion was tied to production of dicamba, an herbicide used as part of Roundup Ready Xtend Crop System products.

Through a statement released Tuesday, the company said the decision will not affect current operations at the site.

“The decision has no impact on our current manufacturing operations on site, nor on our commitment to St. Charles Parish and the Luling community. While a difficult decision, this enables us to preserve cash and prioritize our investments in new innovation for farmers,” the statement noted. “The team at the Luling site has a long history of working with employees and the community to manage through challenges such as this. We will be assessing our options for the plant over the upcoming months.”

Bayer does not currently produce dicamba but was constructing the facility to do so in the future, officials said.

“We have decided to stop the construction of a new dicamba plant on our site in Luling,” Kyel Richard, corporate senior external communications manager, said. “This decision has no impact on our farmer customers. We will simply continue to buy the active ingredient and produce the final product XtendiMax in our plant in Muscatine, Iowa.”

The decision does however have an impact on the River Region, as the expansion was expected to bring 120 new full-time jobs with an average annual salary of $76,500. At peak construction, the project was expected to generate 1,000 jobs.

“We remain fully committed to the Xtend System and will continue with innovation in dicamba formulation and development, as well as new traits with tolerance to dicamba,” Richard said.

Richard said the move enables the company to preserve cash and prioritize investments in new innovation for farmers.

“Bayer has been a part of the Luling community for more than 60 years, and throughout that time, we have remained committed to our employees, the surrounding community and St. Charles Parish,” Richard said. “We will be assessing our options for the dicamba plant over the upcoming months, and transitioning Bayer site employees affected by this decision to other roles within our organization. And, our commitment to the community will continue – including the completion of the walking and biking park that was initiated as part of this expansion.”

On June 8, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued an order in response to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit’s June 3 ruling that vacated current U.S. registrations of certain low-volatility dicamba products, including those produced by Bayer. The Court ruled in favor of a petition challenging the EPA’s 2018 registration decision.

Richard said the timing of the court’s ruling is coincidental and unfortunate, but emphasized it was not a factor in reassessment of the Luling plant.

Through a statement released Tuesday, the company said the decision will not affect current operations at the site.

“The decision has no impact on our current manufacturing operations on site, nor on our commitment to St. Charles Parish and the Luling community. While a difficult decision, this enables us to preserve cash and prioritize our investments in new innovation for farmers,” the statement noted. “The team at the Luling site has a long history of working with employees and the community to manage through challenges such as this. We will be assessing our options for the plant over the upcoming months.”

 

About Monique Roth 135 Articles
Roth has both her undergraduate and graduate degree in journalism, which she has utilized in the past as an instructor at Southeastern Louisiana University and a reporter at various newspapers and online publications. She grew up in LaPlace, where she currently resides with her husband and three daughters.

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