The Bayer CropScience Muskegon Industrial Park held a ceremony April 30 to mark completion of the site’s $15 million expansion of manufacturing operations. Area elected and civic officials joined company global and local executives for a ribbon-cutting event to celebrate completion of the two-year project. The expansion is adding 10 full-time employees at the site, bringing total employment there to 60.
“The expansion demonstrates our company’s on-going strategic commitment to providing agronomic solutions for U.S. corn, cotton, canola, and soybean farmers,” says Wolfgang Welter, member of the board of management responsible for Industrial Operations at Bayer CropScience. “This multi-million investment in our glufosinate ammonium plant provides the capacity increase we need to further expand our highly successful Ignite brand herbicide in the United States.”
According to Chris Evans, senior vice president of Industrial Operations for Region Americas for the company, economic factors from around the world influence how Bayer CropScience approaches its investment decisions in today’s global environment. “We view those factors as both an incentive and an opportunity,” he notes. “Our expansion here in Muskegon strengthens the site’s role and reputation as a world-class competitive manufacturing operation.”
Harold Lofton, head of the Bayer CropScience Muskegon Industrial Park, believes it is that role and reputation that positions the site for further growth and success, as evidenced by the recently announced decision by the battery maker fortu to select the Muskegon Industrial Park as the future home for its Michigan operations. “We have demonstrated that we have the people, infrastructure and resources in place to operate a highly competitive manufacturing plant,” Lofton says. “Our site offers fortu and future tenants the right location to reach the high level of success we have realized here in Muskegon.”
The Muskegon facility manufactures various crop protection products, including Ignite herbicide, one of the principal products driving growth at the site. Ignite, the primary brand for glufosinate ammonium herbicide, has experienced a steady increase in demand for weed-control use in LibertyLink corn, cotton, and canola crops. Grower demand for Ignite is even stronger now with the recent introduction of new LibertyLink soybeans.
“Ignite herbicide is the principal product manufactured at the Muskegon site and an integral part of the growing U.S. crop protection portfolio for Bayer CropScience,” Evans says. “This innovative product demonstrates the company’s commitment to research and development and to its determination to stay at the forefront of innovative seed, trait, and crop production solutions.”
LibertyLink, the herbicide-tolerant trait offering tolerance to Ignite, is part of the company’s integrated product offering comprising seeds, traits, and crop protection products. Ignite herbicide provides the opportunity for growers to rotate nonselective herbicides in LibertyLink crops and effectively manage weed-resistance issues. Ultimately, this rotation practice will help U.S. growers and the industry at large preserve the utility of currently available technologies.
The Bayer CropScience Muskegon site is situated on 400 acres in northern Muskegon Township and has a $135 million asset value. Bayer CropScience employs about 3,000 employees in North America.