Monsanto of Muscatine announced on Friday, April 21 the completion of their $50 million expansion to the local plant. The expansion will provide for increases in the formulation and packaging capacity at the plant to support the launch of Monsanto’s dicamba-tolerant trait technologies.

“Iowa is fortunate to have innovative companies like Monsanto that are making significant investments to create jobs in our communities, while also providing farmers new tools to help increase productivity  and reduce their environmental impact,” said Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey. “The Muscatine plant expansion will help ensure farmers continue to have a variety of tools as they work to increase yields and improve profitability.”

The Muscatine plant opened in 1961 and employs over 400 full-time workers. The plant produces both selective chemistry products and glyphosate-based herbicide products. Glyphosate-based herbicide is used to kill weeds, especially annual broadleaf weeds and grasses that compete with crops. This process was discovered to be an herbicide by Monsanto chemist John E. Franz in 1970.  Selective chemistry products are used to target a specific type of plant or family of plants.

Shawn Schrader, plant manager of Monsanto in Muscatine answers questions about the expansion

“For more than 55 years we have been a proud part of this community, and today is a celebration of the success and importance of modern agriculture in the great state of Iowa,” said Shawn Schrader, Monsanto Muscatine plant manager. “The work taking place at this site will play an important role in helping farmers produce better harvests and meet the global demand for food, putting Muscatine at the heart of one of the largest agricultural weed management [projects] in history.”

The dicamba-based product, known as Roundup Ready Xtend Crop System, is designed to provide farmers with more consistent, flexible control of weeds, especially glyphosate-resistant weeds. The system has potential for use across more than 200 million acres of soybean and cotton production in the Americas, and possibly for corn production as well.