Gov. Jay Nixon today led the groundbreaking for the Missouri Plant Science Center in Mexico, a facility that will combine cutting-edge plant science research with manufacturing capabilities. The state of Missouri provided approximately $7.5 million in funding and incentives for the center, which will capitalize on the state's leadership position in plant science to create high-paying, high-tech jobs and serve as a catalyst for capital investment in northeast Missouri.
"By drawing on our deep agricultural roots, Missouri has established itself as a world leader in plant science, which will enable us to develop more productive crops, more nutritious foods, cleaner and safer fuels, and better medicines," Gov. Nixon said. "The new Missouri Plant Science Center will continue that tradition and bolster our state's standing in this high-tech, high-growth industry of the 21st century, while creating the quality, high-paying jobs that will go with it."
The Missouri Plant Science Center is a joint venture of the state's Missouri Technology Corporation, the University of Missouri system and the city of Mexico. The 25,000-square foot facility will house traditional office space, wet and dry laboratories, and manufacturing equipment to process soybeans and other plant-based material into value-added products.
Financial support for the facility consisted of $5 million in Community Development Block Grant funding from the Missouri Department of Economic Development; $2.5 million from the Missouri Technology Corporation; $2.5 million from the University of Missouri system and $950,000 in federal funds allocated to the city of Mexico.
The Missouri Plant Science Center's priority is attracting private investment from companies focusing on plant science research. The center already has leased space at the facility to an initial tenant, Soy Labs LLC of Fairfield, California. That emerging research-driven company, which produces soy-based ingredients principally for the food and health industries, has announced plans to move its operations to the center in Mexico, while creating at least 20 new, high-paying jobs in the short term.
Mexico residents Eddie and Connie Sydenstricker donated the 10-acre tract of land on which the Missouri Plant Science Center will be built. In addition, AT&T Missouri has agreed to extend high-speed fiber infrastructure for communications and data at no charge. Construction of the center is expected to be completed during the first quarter of 2011. The initial tenant of the facility, Soy Labs LLC, will take occupancy shortly thereafter.