OCI N.V. (Euronext: OCI) and its wholly-owned subsidiary Iowa Fertilizer Company (IFCo) today announced the official start of production at its plant in Wever in southeast Iowa. The Governor of Iowa Terry Branstad, Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds, the Lee County Board of Supervisors and others joined OCI in an event to inaugurate one of the largest private sector construction projects in Iowa’s history and the first world-scale, greenfield nitrogen fertilizer facility built in the United States in more than 25 years.
IFCo has commenced production and sales. The plant will produce approximately 1.5 to 2 million metric tons of nitrogen fertilizer products annually and can alternate between products at short notice, depending on market demand.
“The start of production at Iowa Fertilizer Company is a transformative moment for the agricultural industry in the United States,” said Nassef Sawiris, Chief Executive Officer of OCI N.V. “As one of the most innovative and efficient manufacturing plants in the nation, Iowa Fertilizer is leading the way in providing American farmers a stable, high-quality and domestic source of nitrogen fertilizer products. Given its location among the highest nitrogen-consuming acres globally, on the border between Iowa and Illinois, the number one and two corn-producing states in the nation, the site houses not only a premier production facility, but also an industry-leading distribution centre.”
At the peak of construction, IFCo employed more than 3,500 workers and currently employs more than 200 full-time positions to operate the plant. Additionally, many more indirect positions will be created.
“In Iowa, we have created a roadmap that attracts new businesses and supports key industries that drive long-term economic growth,” said Governor Terry Branstad. “At the outset of the Iowa Fertilizer project, the unemployment rate in Lee County was the highest in the state at 8.0%. That is why my administration fought so hard to encourage the company to locate its new fertilizer plant in this great community. Today, the county’s unemployment rate is down nearly three points to 5.3%, providing a positive and meaningful impact on working families in the area.”
The event in Wever marks the culmination of a five-year collaboration between state and local economic development leaders, Republican and Democrat officials in southeast Iowa, the agricultural community, Iowa Fertilizer Company, and state leaders led by the Branstad-Reynolds Administration.
“Working alongside Governor Branstad, I am incredibly proud of the close, on-going partnership we have forged with Lee County, Iowa Fertilizer Company, and farmers to begin this $3 billion operation,” said Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds. “In the years to come, this plant will continue to spur job growth for Iowa families and support our farmers by providing a more accessible source of fertilizer for their crops.”