Monsanto to build $140M cotton seed processing unit in Texas

LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) — Monsanto says plans to build a $140 million cotton seed processing plant in West Texas, where nearly 40 percent of the nation’s fluffy fiber is planted.

The St. Louis-based company said in a news release the plant will be its primary hub for cleaning, treating and bagging its brand of cotton seed, Deltapine, from growers with whom they contract. The seed will then be resold.

Monsanto officials said Wednesday that the plant should be operating by mid-2017. The 500,000-square-foot plant will be built on 150 acres in Lubbock and create 40 full-time jobs and as many as 25 part-time positions, the company said.

“Monsanto is proud to be part of the Lubbock community,” Dave Penn of Monsanto said in the release.

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Lubbock County was the nation’s No. 1 cotton producing county in 2014, and in 2015, about 37 percent of the cotton planted in the U.S. was planted in West Texas.

Computers at the plant will cull enhanced data and allow for automating processes instead of manual operations, Monsanto said, adding it hopes that will improve safety.

When fully operational, the plant will add an estimated $11.2 million annually to Lubbock County’s gross regional product.

“The impact of cotton on the Lubbock economy is vital, and this continues to establish Lubbock as one of the major cotton centers of the U.S. and the world,” Tim Collins, chairman of the board for Lubbock Economic Development Alliance and Market Lubbock said in the release.