Monsanto cancels Independence plant

DuPont will miss job targets on three projects

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The struggling farm economy has led to the cancellation of a $90 million Monsanto plant in Independence and fewer jobs at three DuPont projects in Iowa.

St. Louis-based Monsanto notified the Iowa Economic Development Authority that it will not build a long-delayed seed corn production facility in Independence that would have created 47 full-time jobs and 800 seasonal positions. The IEDA board on Friday voted to allow the company to cancel a contract for $7.5 million in job creation tax credits.

“As announced this fall, we are going to focus on reducing our costs due to the market realities, the transformation opportunities within Monsanto, and to support our long-term growth,” Joan Steckel, a Monsanto marketing representative, wrote in a letter to the Iowa Economic Development Authority.

Although the cancellation of the Independence project is disappointing, George Lake, executive director of the Buchanan County Economic Development Commission, said the company will continue to employ people in Independence.

“Monsanto is not closing their existing Independence research facility and they intend to stay in Independence for many years to come,” Lake said. “The company has 1,619 employees in Iowa, including seven at the Independence facility.”

Monsanto announced plans for the Independence plant in April 2008, but received two extensions of its tax credit agreement.

Monsanto chose Independence after evaluating 15 sites in north central Iowa because of its proximity to good roads, natural gas and workforce. The plant would have been constructed on a 150-acre site north of Highway 20 and east of Henley Avenue. The land was under contract to the company.

The IEDA Board on Friday also voted to allow DuPont Pioneer to cancel contracts for $13 million in tax benefits linked to creating 300 jobs for three projects.

Mark Miller, DuPont Pioneer director of corporate services, wrote in a letter to the IEDA Board that the company intends to complete the projects, but will not accept the tax benefits because it cannot create the required number of jobs.

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