- Associated Press - Friday, July 17, 2015

TWIN FALLS, Idaho (AP) - Monsanto has opened its new center in Filer that will serve as the company’s core U.S. wheat breeding research and development facility.

The grand opening of the global seed giant’s Wheat Technology Center on Thursday brought together about 100 government and industry officials, wheat growers and academic experts, reported The Times-News (https://bit.ly/1Myhudy ).

“We are pleased to have our plant breeders and scientists centralized here in Filer,” said Kristin Schneider, Monsanto’s global wheat-breeding lead. “It fosters innovation.”

Monsanto has moved into its Seminis Vegetable Seed Co. facility, where they will conduct research and develop new wheat cultivars. The company uses traditional cross-breeding methods in the wheat program and advanced breeding technology, such as DNA analyses.

Monsanto has been criticized in recent years for its development of genetically modified seed, also known as GMO. But Schneider said GMO technology will not be used at the new facility.

The Wheat Technology Center includes a space for wheat seed cleaning, trial preparation and seed storage. There are also two new greenhouses with an additional 14,000 square feet of growing and laboratory space.

The center’s expansion has added 17 full-time employees and more than 20 contract seasonal positions. Monsanto employs about 1,000 full-time workers in Idaho.

Idaho Rep. Clark Kauffman said the new center “is a good deal for Filer.”

Two-thirds of the 30 employees in Monsanto’s wheat breeding program will work in Filer. The others will oversee test plots in Kansas, Texas and North Dakota.

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Information from: The Times-News, https://www.magicvalley.com


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