Bayer CropScience has announced plans for the construction of two chemical manufacturing units in the Mobile area. The units will produce precursor materials for use in the production of Liberty® herbicide, a key component in Bayer’s innovative LibertyLink weed management technology.

The project will be a joint effort between Bayer CropScience and Evonik Industries, with the production to be situated at the Evonik manufacturing facility in the Theodore Industrial Park in Mobile County. Evonik will take responsibility for constructing one of the units and Bayer the other, with the resulting intermediate from the combined manufacturing being used in the production of Liberty. The project represents an overall investment at the site of more than $200 million.

"Our goal at Bayer CropScience is to help shape the future of farming by providing cutting-edge agricultural innovations to deliver on Bayer’s mission of Science For A Better Life," said Michael van Nooy, Head of Global Active Ingredient Operations for Bayer CropScience. "The project we are announcing today is a demonstration of our commitment to that mission and is in keeping with our global commitment to sustainable agriculture."

Van Nooy added that Bayer looks forward to the cooperative effort with Evonik in bringing the project to fruition. "Combining the expertise, resources and experience that both companies possess allows us to achieve our objective in the most timely, efficient and cost-effective, as well as safest, manner possible."

Globally, Bayer is in the process of doubling its Liberty herbicide production capacity.

"We’ve been working with Bayer CropScience successfully for years, and it has developed into a reliable partnership. This is without a doubt also a reason for choosing this site," explained Caspar Gammelin, Head of Evonik´s Performance Materials segment, adding, "The new investment in Mobile allows us to continue supporting and accompanying the growth course we’ve experienced in recent years with Bayer CropScience."

"In expanding our production of Liberty, we are responding to urgent calls by farmers and agronomists for an alternative weed control technology to help combat the rising problem of weed resistance," said John Smith, who leads key account management for Bayer CropScience’s commercial operations.

"The use of Liberty herbicide, in combination with our LibertyLink seed, continues to be in high demand by farmers as they realize the benefits to their crops, and harvests, of our innovative weed management technology," Smith said. Canola, corn, cotton and soybeans are the crops benefiting from this technology.

Construction of the two production units will take approximately two years to complete, with the start-up of production beginning in mid-2017.

"We take our responsibilities as a chemical manufacturer very seriously," said Jim Covington, head of the Bayer CropScience operations in Mobile. “Our first priority always is the safety of our employees and our neighbors, and with that the safeguarding of our environment.

"Neither current construction nor future production will ever take precedence over these closely held values," Covington emphasized.

Covington estimated that the new units together will employ approximately 50 people once production begins.