News | April 15, 2018 | Read Time: 3 minutes
Monsanto Progressing in Marana Greenhouse Project
Monsanto broke ground at our Marana property near Twin Peaks and Sanders Road in March of 2017, which means we are less than a year—10 months to be exact—away from completing the state-of-the-art greenhouses and seed production facility designed to help bring the latest in modern agriculture technology to farmers in Arizona and around the world.
More than 100 Arizona construction workers and contractors have put in over 100,000 hours of labor to date, with most of the construction teams coming from the surrounding community.
Our site will consist of a two-acre processing and warehouse space with a 7-acre greenhouse. The site will provide jobs for about 25 full-time employees, several dozen seasonal workers, and university and high school interns. There will also be space to conduct tours of the facility. Eventually, we’d like to create a community space with an agricultural education center to help celebrate the heritage of the Marana farming community while inspiring students to become farmers.
This site will be a seed production facility as part of our field corn line development efforts. Uses for field corn include renewable fuels like ethanol, and food products like corn syrup, corn flakes, yellow corn chips, corn starch, and corn flour. Monsanto is committed to providing farmers with tools so they can benefit from better harvests while using natural resources more efficiently. Our work here in Marana will be felt around the world. Farmers in over 42 countries will also use the greenhouse technology created here, as they help meet the increased demand for protein in the developing world. In four decades, the demand for protein from animals has tripled and farmers across the globe are working hard to keep up. If trends continue, we will need to double crop production worldwide by 2050 to meet the growth of the world to 9 billion people.
The site will be a key hub for seed production and innovation. Inside the greenhouses we’ll use state of the art automation technology—agriculture robots—and climate control systems to ensure the best growing conditions in a self-contained environment. We’ll recapture and reuse nearly 100 percent of our water. The greenhouses allow us to grow corn using just 1/5th of the water used in open fields, and we’ll also use a much smaller area: just 7 acres here compared to 190 in an open field.
While the team here in Marana is currently limited to four full-time employees, we are already working to help the community. To date, local non-profits and schools have received more than $50,000 from the Monsanto Fund (the philanthropic arm of the company) as recommended by the Monsanto Marana team.
The donation we made to the Marana School Foundation supported professional development for teachers and principals on the use of technology in the classroom.
We have also met with local teachers to learn how we can contribute to their classroom needs, we volunteered to pack holiday food boxes with Caring Ministries, and we provided a hands-on science activity for kids at the Marana Cotton Festival. We are pleased to support the Marana community, and look forward to a continued partnership.