Monsanto expansion will create 2,100 jobs

Construction to begin in January

Calling it a “unique opportunity” for Monsanto Co., engineering work for the company’s near $1 billion expansion of its Luling manufacturing site will begin in August.

Ariel Lorenzo, Monsanto’s Dicamba Business Incubator Leader, outlined the project timeline at a recent St. Charles Parish Economic Development Council meeting in Luling.

Monsanto is putting $975 million into retooling the existing facility to produce the chemical, dicamba, a key ingredient in the company’s Roundup Ready Xtend Crop System.

“We have the labor force. We have the experience, 60 years of experience,” said Lorenzo. “We have a lot of chemical experience, a lot of mechanical experience … for many years, we’ve produced in the United States, in Europe, in Asia, but we have never produced it inside Monsanto. We want to do it in a place with a lot of know-how about managing chemistry production.”

With preliminary planning started in 2015, construction is targeted to begin in January of 2017 through mid-2019, he said. The expanded site should go into operation by January of 2020.

The project will create more than 1,000 construction jobs. Lorenzo projected it would create another 1,000 jobs indirectly in the community.

When the expanded site is operational, the expansion will create up to 110 permanent positions on site with a projected $17 million generated in additional payroll.

At the Economic Development Council meeting, Lorenzo was accompanied by three other company representatives and showed a Powerpoint presentation detailing, among a variety of things, the expected economic impact of the project and a timeline of construction, hiring, training and opening.

Lorenzo advised the project also will bring traffic disruptions with construction, specifically on River and Paul Maillard roads.

LED’s Business Expansion and Retention Group, or BERG, began formal project discussions with Monsanto about a potential project in March 2015. To secure the project, the state of Louisiana will provide Monsanto a performance-based Modernization Tax Credit of $3.75 million, along with a performance-based $1.7 million Economic Development Award Program grant to reimburse rail and electrical infrastructure costs associated with the expansion.

The company will receive the comprehensive solutions of LED FastStart – the nation’s top-ranked state workforce development program. In addition, Monsanto is expected to utilize Louisiana’s Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption programs.

Monsanto first announced a planned expansion in June 2015, but board approval was needed before the company could move forward with the expansion.

That approval was officially secured in April.

In 2010, Monsanto completed a $196 million expansion at Luling that boosted production of agricultural herbicides there by 20 percent.

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