LUBBOCK, TEXAS - Monsanto Company opened its research megasite in Lubbock, further strengthening the company's dedication to cotton research and its commitment to Texas farmers. The Monsanto Texas Cotton Breeding and Technology Center will provide a central point for the company's breeding and testing programs in the High Plains region.
"In the last five years, we have more than doubled our U.S. cotton research and development budget," said Dr. Ted Crosbie, Monsanto Global Breeding Lead. "The research done here in Lubbock will provide further yield and fiber quality advancements for Texas farmers."
"More than 50 percent of the country's cotton acres are right here in Texas," said Dr. Trevor Hohls, Monsanto Global Cotton Breeding Lead. "Texas farmers are seeing great results with Deltapine's Class of 09 and 10 varieties on both dryland and irrigated acres, particularly DP 1032 B2RF and DP 1044 B2RF. We're especially excited about the Class of 11 candidates for their yield potential and fiber quality. And this new research center will help us deliver new technologies and genetics that will increase yield and deliver fiber qualities demanded by cotton merchants across the world."
The Monsanto Texas Cotton Breeding and Technology Center cost $10.5 million to build and is located on a 12.2 acre site within the Lubbock Economic Development Alliance Business Park. About 20 employees will work at the site full-time, with up to 50 temporary employees during peak season.
"Megasite" is a term Monsanto uses to describe a research facility which houses multiple programs focused on improving genetic performance. Monsanto has another cotton megasite in Scott, Mississippi.
"The Lubbock megasite houses both our High Plains and our Rolling Plains breeding programs, as well as our Discovery Breeding efforts," said Kendall Bonds, Monsanto's U.S. Cotton Testing Lead. "Our Integrated Texas Testing Program which includes new efforts in South Texas will be based here, and our Biotechnology Trait Development Pipeline team will be researching water use efficiency," said Bonds. An Environmental Safety & Health team will also call the site home.
The megasite joins three other Monsanto facilities located in Texas – the Hale Center Research Farm and the testing programs in Haskell and Corpus Christi.
Texas has been an important part of Monsanto's cotton research operations. In April 2009, Monsanto donated 4,000 cotton molecular markers and associated information to Texas AgriLife Research, an agency of the Texas A&M System. In September 2010, Monsanto and San-Diego based Illumina reached a key milestone in the sequencing of a cotton species; once the information is publicly available, David Stelly of Texas A&M University is expected to lead the effort to conduct further analysis of that species' genome and the role it plays in key functions such as fiber development.
Lubbock Mayor Tom Martin and Lubbock Economic Development Alliance Business Recruitment Director Marc Farmer were scheduled to speak at the grand opening and were joined by several area farmers, cotton industry representatives, academic leaders and local elected officials.
SOURCE: Monsanto Company