The small southeast Iowa town of Wever is now home to the nation’s first nitrogen fertilizer plant built in more than 25 years.
Iowa Fertilizer Company officially began production at its Wever plant Wednesday.
“With the start of production, Iowa Fertilizer Company is now delivering a reliable high quality and domestic supply of nitrogen fertilizers that will help meet the needs of farmers in Iowa, the Midwest and around the country,” Iowa Fertilizer Company President Larry Holley said.
The plant will produce around 1.5 to 2 million metric tons of nitrogen fertilizer annually and has the capability to produce 4,740 tons of ammonium nitrate solutions; 1,320 of Granular Urea; 2,425 tons of ammonia; and 990 tons of diesel exhaust fluid daily. Workers can switch production between products at short notice depending on market demand.
“Iowa leads the nation in corn production and if we were a country, we’d be the 4th largest corn producing country in the world” Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey said. “To maintain the fertility and productivity of our valuable soils, Iowa is largest consumer of fertilizer in America. This new plant will provide another Iowa source for fertilizer and reduce the need for imported fertilizer in Iowa and across the nation. This plant is also another example of the wonderful agribusinesses we have in our state that create good jobs in our communities while providing vital products to our state’s farmers.”
Ahmed El-Hoshy is CEO of OCI Americas, IFCo’s parent company. He says the plant also helped boost the local economy in Lee County.
“Iowa Fertilizer is the result of over $3 billion of investments to build our new facility here in Wever and has helped drive meaningful job creation throughout the state and broader region,” Hoshy said.
Lee County has had one of the highest unemployment rates in the state. Since the groundbreaking of Iowa Fertilizer Company, unemployment dropped from 8% to 5.3%. Governor Terry Branstad was glad the company picked Iowa for the plants location.
“By collaborating with the state and local economic development leaders, Democrat and Republican officials from here in Southeast Iowa, the agriculture community, and the company itself, we were able to secure what has become one of the largest private sector projects in our state’s history,” Branstad said.
During peaking construction, the plant employed 3,500 workers. It currently employs over 200 full-time workers to operate the plant. Annual payroll will be $25 million and $25 million in maintenance spending.