Dec. 22, 2015
Monsanto has abandoned its plan to build a seed corn plant in eastern Iowa due to a softening of the farming economy, according to documents released in advance of an Iowa Economic Development Authority board meeting Friday.
Monsanto had planned to build a $90 million seed corn plant in Independence that it expected would create 47 jobs. The state economic development board signed a contract in 2009 providing $7.5 million in tax credits for the project, which was supposed to have been completed in May 2014. Monsanto sought contract extensions twice, but company spokeswoman Christi Dixon said it is abandoning the project. The company is asking the board to cancel contracts for the tax credits.
"In looking ahead to 2016, focus and discipline become increasingly important. As announced this fall, we are going to focus on reducing our costs because of the market realities, the transformation opportunities within Monsanto, and to support our long-term growth," Joan Steckel, a marketing manager at Monsanto, said in a letter to state officials.
Monsanto employs 1,619 workers in Iowa and invested more than $50 million in the state this year, Dixon said.
Low corn and soybean prices, and high costs for land, equipment, fertilizer and other chemicals has driven down farming income for a second consecutive year. The USDA estimated in November that this year's farming income will be $55.9 billion, which would be 38 percent lower than last year's $90.4 billion. That 2014 total was nearly 27 percent lower than the $123 billion in 2013.