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Monsanto looks to expand its research 
By ANDREA FURLONG
Williamsburg residents might associate the demolition of some of Monsanto’s old buildings this week with a closure, but operations are actually expanding, according to site lead Matt Brenneman.
“The focus of the site will be growing of the crop, but that research focus is ramping up,” he said.
In the next month, Monsanto will begin testing and developing new traits in soybeans in Williamsburg through the planting of soybean plots and examination of resulting yield data. This will be a first for the Williamsburg site, which has always focused on corn. In addition, a test seed group from Marshall, Mo., recently moved to the site, which will distribute small quantities of hybrid corn seed for yield testing. Together, the two operations will add approximately six jobs over the next two years.
As Monsanto looks to expand its research focus, it will raze four buildings that were used exclusively for seed processing. Brenneman said the demolition reflects a decision made last October to move seed processing operations to the Grinnell site.
“I think most of the community is probably fairly aware we’ve had some staff commuting to Grinnell for some time. Basically, that has do to with the fact that we’ve invested a significant amount of infrastructure in Grinnell for seed processing,” he said.
Brenneman said Monsanto has decided to raze the buildings due to age (some were built 50 years ago) and additional maintenance.
“The newer buildings that are very useful, we are going to leave in tact, of course,” he said.
The transfer of Williamsburg’s seed processing to Grinnell last year has raised many questions over the past few months, but Monsanto has a long-term interest in the future of the Williamsburg site, Brenneman said.
“Through these changes, there have been some questions . . .’Are we going away completely?’ and I’m here to state clearly that we are not. We are here to stay. We still plan on having a community presence. We’ll still be growing crop in the Williamsburg area.”
Monsanto’s Williamsburg site employs 72 full-time employees and 450 seasonal employees. Its main operations include plant breeding and trait integration.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

UPDATED March 31, 2010 1:54 PM

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