WEVER, Iowa -- After four years and $3 billion, the massive new Iowa Fertilizer Company facility in Wever, Iowa is officially open for business.
The large project has had plenty of proponents and critics, with the former crediting the huge plant with helping reducing the region's unemployment rate and opponents countering that the massive economic development incentives heaped on it were not worth the taxpayer dollars expended.
The state of Iowa provided nearly $108 million in state tax credits which were supplemented by millions more in regional and federal incentives. However, the construction of the large facility also employed more than 3,000 construction workers and saw the unemployment rate in southeast Iowa fall from around 8 percent to 5.3 percent. Currently, the plant employs more than 200 full-time positions who will help it produce approximately 1.5 to 2 million metric tons of nitrogen fertilizer products annually.
“The start of production at Iowa Fertilizer Company plant in Wever is a transformative moment for the agricultural industry,” said Nassef Sawiris, Chief Executive Officer of OCI N.V., the parent company of Iowa Fertilizer Company. “As one of the most innovative and efficient manufacturing plants in the nation, Iowa Fertilizer is leading the way in providing American farmers a stable, high-quality and domestic source of nitrogen fertilizer products. Given its location among the highest nitrogen-consuming acres globally, on the border between Iowa and Illinois, the number one and two corn-producing states in the nation, the site houses not only a premier production facility, but also an industry-leading distribution center.”
Company officials say they plan to invest $25 million on payroll and $25 million on maintenance of the plant annually.