The announcement came during a news conference hosted Wednesday afternoon by the Lubbock Economic Development Alliance.
The company is investing its millions in building a new 500,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility on 150 acres in North Lubbock along Interstate 27, just west of Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport.
“In March, we plan to start a ground break of this facility where we’ll have a lot of construction and a lot of people working there,” Dave Penn, U.S. Cotton & Specialty Crops Manufacturing lead at Monsanto, said. “We’re looking at probably over 250 employees on a daily basis over the next 18 months to get this facility built. Hopefully, by the summer of 2017, you’ll come and help us open the doors to this outstanding facility.”
The company will also create 40 full-time jobs and 15-25 part-time jobs to operate out of the new facility, according to Tim Collins, LEDA chairman.
“Full-time positions will include managers and highly skilled technicians,” Collins said. “Once fully operational, the total added value and economic impact is about $11.2 million to our region.”
The facility will include cleaning, treating and bagging of its Deltapine brand cotton seed.
“80 percent of all of the country’s cotton seed could be bagged in that plant,” Collins said. “With this plant we will be the epicenter for all cotton seed production going forward. Agriculture has been the cornerstone of this community — this is what we’ve built on and Monsanto has recognized that. They’ve added another block to our wall.”
Penn said Lubbock is the kind of place Monsanto was looking for to build its new cotton seed-processing plant.
“Lubbock is one of the biggest cotton patches in the U.S., and arguably, it’s one of the biggest in the world,” Penn said. “Based on our relationships with Lubbock and based on the collaboration we had with LEDA, and how they worked with us, it was just a great opportunity for Monsanto and figured Lubbock would be the place to be.”
Monsanto’s $140 million investment is one of the largest capital investment projects ever announced in Lubbock since the inception of LEDA and Market Lubbock in 1995.
“What really sold them on moving here was our location and the fact that we are very integral to the cotton business, and the people that live here,” Collins said.
Lubbock Mayor Glen Robertson said the new plant will help put Lubbock on the map in the agricultural business world.
“Lubbock is cotton, there’s no doubt,” Robertson said. “I’m proud for Lubbock and for West Texas, and mostly proud that we, as a community, are claiming our right to say we truly are the world headquarters for cotton seed production.”
Collins said it wouldn’t surprise him if Lubbock became a destination for others in the cotton industry throughout the world after the Monsanto plant is built and operational.
“We’ve already had inquiries from people from Australia, from India and other cotton-producing countries that want to come and understand this technology,” Collins said. “We have other industries, but agriculture is the cornerstone, so this is going to be a great seed to grow our presence.”