Monsanto will make an investment of up to $196 million over the next 18 months at its glyphosate manufacturing facility in Luling, a move that will lead to the hiring of close to 400 people.
300 to 350 of those people will be used during the construction process, while 30 people will be hired directly to work for a project that will increase the company’s global capacity to produce Roundup and other glyphosate-based herbicides.
“Growing global adoption of our seed products, including Roundup Ready crops, has led to increased demand for our Roundup agricultural herbicides,” said Mark Leidy, executive vice president of manufacturing at Monsanto. “Today’s investment provides for new process improvements at our Luling manufacturing facility, allowing us to strengthen our manufacturing position, while helping to ensure that our business is able to provide a reliable supply of the world’s leading herbicide brand, Roundup, to our customers.”
Monsanto recently received authorization from the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) on three permits that pave the way for the new enhancements at its Luling facility. The company’s investment is designed to both expand infrastructure and front-end manufacturing capacity at the facility.
Monsanto is focused on making improvements to the company’s manufacturing processes at Luling over the next 18 months by continuing to leverage technology and capital improvements throughout the manufacturing process. These improvements have the potential to increase the site’s manufacturing capacity of Roundup agricultural herbicide by approximately 20 percent once finalized, which would increase the overall global supply of glyphosate by more than 10 percent.
The plant’s expansion is expected to be completed in 2010 and should bolster the area’s economy.
“The Monsanto Company’s expansion in Luling means vital job growth and economic investment in St. Charles Parish,” Sen. Mary Landrieu said. “The $196 million investment will benefit all of Southeast Louisiana and the River Parish areas in particular, bringing improved manufacturing and technology to the region.”
In addition to the planned expansion, Monsanto announced that it will be undertaking an energy-reduction project at its Luling facility. The company will be implementing a hydrogen-recovery project, a step that will enable it to reduce natural gas costs and better conserve and utilize hydrogen, a by-product of the glyphosate manufacturing process.
The energy-reduction project is expected to allow the company to reduce its direct or indirect greenhouse gas emissions at the facility by an estimated 128 million pounds, or 58,000 metric tons, annually.
This reduction equates to a carbon footprint that would be generated by more than 9,000 airplane trips around the world annually.
The active ingredient in Roundup, glyphosate, was first developed and introduced in the 1970s. The herbicide was first marketed to farmers in 1973.
Now, nearly 35 years later, Roundup brand herbicides are used by farmers throughout the world.
Sales of Roundup herbicides have steadily increased since the introduction of the first-generation of Roundup Ready crops in the 1990s. Since that time, farmers around the world have used Monsanto’s Roundup Ready technology and glyphosate-based herbicides to adopt environmentally-friendly farming practices like conservation tillage to preserve topsoil and reduce on-farm costs.