Monsanto unveils $50-million plant expansion in Muscatine

MUSCATINE, Iowa -- A $50-million project represents the future of Monsanto in Muscatine. It's a company investing in the Iowa economy to add jobs and make a new product.

Seven years of research is represented in a converted warehouse. It's where Monsanto is making what it calls the next generation of weed killer.

Monsanto could have put the plant expansion in Louisiana, but it chose Iowa to make Extendimax.

"Any time that you can expand and grow your facility, bring additional people to your facility, it's a great day for the community," said Plant Manager Shawn Schrader, on Friday, April 21.

Monsanto is adding 30 new jobs to work on the line.  That brings its workforce to 400 full-time positions in Muscatine.

The plant will also continue to make products like Roundup and other crop protection items.

Longtime employees like Wayne Mengel know about the region's past ups-and-downs.  After 28 years with the company, he's celebrating its growth.

"It is very nice to expand," he said. "A couple of years ago, the challenges were -- how do you just maintain and not lose ground?"

Monsanto credits an Iowa partnership for making it happen.

"We've brought billions of dollars of new investment and expansions into Iowa," said Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, (R) Iowa.

Iowa offered $4-million in tax incentives to seal the deal.

"We've met both the capital request and the number of additional full-time hires to be able to meet this tax piece," said Schrader.

Company officials call the expansion a game-changer for farming.  It's a big endorsement for the Muscatine plant, which first opened in 1961.

"There's going to be a lot more hungry people in the world," Schrader concluded.  "It's one more tool that we can offer growers to be able to increase and have more consistent yields on their farms."

New jobs and a fresh outlook designed to keep Monsanto Muscatine growing for decades to come.