MUSKEGON, Mich. -- The Bayer CropScience Muskegon Industrial Park held a ceremony last week to mark completion of the site's $15 million expansion of manufacturing operations. 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," said 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 noted. "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 PowerCell Inc. 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 stated. "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(R) 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(R) corn, cotton and canola crops. Grower demand for Ignite is even stronger now with the recent introduction of new LibertyLink(R) 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," said Evans. "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 nx_onSelective 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.

SOURCE: Bayer CropScience.