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Monsanto breaks ground on soybean seed facility expansion

West Fargo Mayor Rich Mattern, N.D. Gov. John Hoeven, Vic Nordstrom of Monsanto and Mark Martino of Global Seeds and Traits break ground last Thurday for the upcoming soybean conversion project at the facility. David Samson/The Pioneer

Ceremonies were conducted April 1, by Monsanto Company to celebrate the groundbreaking of their multi-million dollar facility expansion that will be the future home of their Asgrow soybean seed production facility in West Fargo.

The site had previously been a sunflower seed production facility. With the sale of Monsanto's sunflower business to Syngenta in August 2009, the site is now being converted and expanded to support Monsanto's growing soybean business. 

"We've worked hard to create the kind of business climate in North Dakota that would attract new companies, including value-added agricultural operations," said North Dakota Gov. John Hoeven. "Today, we welcome Monsanto's Asgrow seeds. As the largest soybean producing county in America, Cass is the right fit for Monsanto and the right fit for North Dakota."

Gov. Hoeven, North Dakota Sen. and Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Tim Flakoll, and West Fargo Mayor Rich Mattern participated in the groundbreaking festivities along with Monsanto company officials.

"This site expansion is a critical part of our strategic direction as a seeds-and-traits business, but the real winners here are farmers, the community and the state of North Dakota," said Mark Martino, Monsanto's vice president of seeds and traits manufacturing.  "It's an investment that enables farmers to have more choices of Asgrow Genuity Roundup Ready 2 Yield soybean seeds.  In addition, it will mean millions of dollars in capital upgrades at the site and new jobs for the community."

North Dakota and the Red River Valley are important soybean sales and production regions for Monsanto. North Dakota is the ninth-largest state by planted soybean acreage at around 4 million acres.  In addition, four of the top 20 U.S. soybean-producing counties are located in North Dakota.

To support this market and Monsanto's anticipated growth in the area, the company expects to contract with more than 80 production growers within a 100 mile radius of Fargo. That economic impact to local farmers producing soybeans for Monsanto is approximately $20 million annually, and is expected to grow as Monsanto soybean sales grow.

The expansion which is expected to be completed by December 2010, will provide dozens of construction jobs, and once complete, will mean an additional 20 full-time and temporary employees at the location.