Agribusiness Companies Give Peek at New Facilities

By Andy Meek

Two agribusiness companies have cut the ribbon on their respective facilities at Agricenter International where they are making investments totaling almost $20 million.

Executives from Bayer CropScience and Helena Chemical were on hand at the Agricenter Monday, April 1, to give a sneak peek at the plans for both facilities, which include a new laboratory and greenhouse facilities. Officials on hand for the announcement included Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell and Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr., and at least one economic development official on hand noted informally that the Agricenter is well on the way toward becoming a major agribusiness hub.

Bayer is building a $17 million greenhouse, which is expected to be finished early next year. It will feature 40,000 square feet of growing space, and by incorporating automation into the design, the greenhouse will result in a 40 percent reduction annually in natural gas and electricity consumption.

Helena, meanwhile, is planning a $2.2 million expansion of its Agricenter presence. The primary expansion will be the addition of an 8,500-square-foot lab used for product development and testing. The company currently has 33 employees at the facility and expects to add 20 more by 2017.