Bayer Crop Science Opens New $17 Million Mid-South Facility


   Ag Watch recently attended the grand opening of Bayer Crop Science’s new $17 million greenhouse and research facility in Memphis, Tennessee. Bayer Crop Science constructed the 76,000 square foot facility as part of its $8.75 billion investment in research and development to expand production capacities and seed breeding facilities globally, between 2011 and 2016.
   The Memphis facility is located at the Agricenter International and will focus on cotton and soybean improvements tailored to the Mid-South.
   According to Liam Condon, CEO of Bayer Crop Sciences, “We are the number one company in cotton globally, and basically everything that we do comes out of the U.S., so it’s crucially important that we’re constantly innovating here, and investing here in the U.S.”  Mr. Condon continued by saying, “On the one side there is great technology here, but I think you got a sense today of the quality of the people involved here as well.”
   The new greenhouse, which includes a spacious head house and open office area, will accommodate research to increase the number of traits available for cotton varieties in the United States and international markets. Overall, the Memphis site supports all of the company’s cotton brands, including Stoneville and Fibermax, as well as soybean breeding and management, molecular breeding and management, and stewardship management. The site’s North American cotton trait introgression work also supports Bayer Crop Science’s cotton seed business development in South America and Africa.
   “As a valued partner in promoting the livelihood and success of our growers, we are invested in growth and innovation across the country to develop new products and solutions, including those for cotton seed,” said Jim Blome, president and CEO of Bayer CropScience LP. “Our new Memphis facility is part of a commitment to the greater Memphis area, and it is from this base that we seek to continue our local economic impact as well as thought leadership on global agriculture and bioscience issues.”

   Adrian Percy is Bayer Crop Science’s head of Research and Development.  According to Mr. Percy, “This is a really exciting facility for us, and another example of a really heavy investment that we’re making in the U.S. in both cotton and soybeans. And this is really going to speed up our ability to bring new cotton seed varieties to the marketplace.”
   When asked about Bayer Crop Science’s commitment to environmental and sustainability issues, Mr. Percy said, “This is just one more example of that, because all of our facilities that we are constructing are built to very high sustainability standards and incorporate high levels of automation, but there’s more to that than just with our centers. All of the products that we are bringing to the marketplace are being looked at from the angle of sustainability in terms of increasing efficiency in farming practices while at the same time increasing yields.”
   The automation incorporated into the facility’s design means the greenhouse will have a reduced carbon footprint, which means less materials used in construction and an approximate 40 percent reduction annually in natural gas and electricity consumption. Additionally, the facility will include sensor detecting light fixtures, high efficiency greenhouse lights with longer-lasting ballasts, recycled greenhouse water to irrigate seedlings, as well as hands-free plumbing fixtures. ∆
   TERRY SIMMONS: Contributing Editor/Farm Director at Ag Watch Network
MidAmerica Farm Publications, Inc
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