Monsanto to Establish Corn Germplasm Greenhouse Facility in Arizona
Monsanto has spent $3.8 million to purchase 155 acres of land from the Kai Family Farm near Marana, Arizona for the construction of a 30 foot tall, seven acre, under glass greenhouse corn research facility. The corn facility will be in addition to Monsanto’s existing cotton breeding site in Casa Grande.
Chosen for its nearly year-round days of sunlight, researchers at the Marana site will breed
GMO corn strains and will pursue “trait integration” which is the combination of both genetic and biotech traits. The facility is expected to accelerate the speed by which seeds move through the development pipeline while also using automated systems that will use less fertilizer, water, and pesticides in a controlled environment compared to open field trial sites.
Prior to the construction of the greenhouse facility, Monsanto has already conducted proof of concept research with the University of Arizona’s Controlled Environment Agriculture Center to determine the best growing medium, lighting, fertilizer, and temperature standards for the facility.
Monsanto chairman and CEO, Hugh Grant referred to corn as a “growth driver” for Monsanto, which is developing next generation platforms including Trecepta and Smartstax PRO corn lines.