In early February, Monsanto broke ground on a $975 million expansion at its Luling, La., operation.

Jacobs Engineering is leading construction efforts along with a dedicated engineering and construction team from Monsanto, explains Enrique Wehlen, Monsanto’s Luling plant manager.

The project scope includes a single production facility, with a single train and outlet, along with several production stages and processes, Wehlen says. These include three main process structures, along with a raw material loading dock, a finished product loading dock, a maintenance shop and control room.

“Ancillary infrastructure being built at the plant also includes rail, a deep well, boiler, substation and lab,” Wehlen says. “The majority of the project is new construction, but will include some upgrades to the current facility to accommodate the expansion.”

Monsanto is bringing new production technology to the facility that supports the launch of the company’s Roundup Ready Xtend Crop System.

“Upon anticipated completion of the construction in mid-2019, the Luling facility is expected to supply 50 million pounds of dicamba product, a key component of the Roundup Ready Xtend Crop System,” Wehlen explains.

During the next decade, Monsanto expects to launch its Roundup Ready Xtend Crop System across 250 million acres of farmland in the Americas.

“This new product is another tool that will assist farmers in fighting resistant weeds,” Louisiana Commissioner of Agriculture & Forestry Mike Strain said in a statement. “The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry will require training provided by Monsanto to ensure the proper use of this product. From an agricultural standpoint, our producers are always looking for ways to enhance sustainable production. From an economic standpoint, Monsanto continues to invest in Louisiana. It’s an investment that will bring additional jobs to the area.”

The new investment mirrors a $200 million expansion that Monsanto completed at Luling in 2010, according to Louisiana Economic Development.

“As a $975 million capital investment, this expansion represents the single largest capital investment in Monsanto’s self-manufacturing history,” Monsanto Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer Kerry Preete said in a statement.

Furthermore, the Louisiana Chemical Association estimates 1,000 jobs will be created in the community during construction and the project will also result in more than 120 direct permanent Jobs and around 30 contractor positions, Wehlen notes.

“We have begun preliminary work and will start pilling by the end of March,” Wehlen says. “We have staffed for some of the main roles and we will likely start our first phase of mass hiring at the end of this calendar year, and the second phase by mid-2018.”