Syngenta has broke ground for the expansion of its Woodland, Calif., research and development (R&D) and seed production facility. Construction begins this fall and is expected to be complete in 2014. Syngenta employees were joined at the groundbreaking by Yolo County and Woodland government officials and local civic and agricultural leaders.
The Woodland site will also host a research and development Center of Excellence. According to Dan Fox, global head of vegetable seeds R&D for Syngenta, one of the unique aspects of the Woodland Center of Excellence will be a significant emphasis on research for cucurbits (i.e., watermelons, melons and squash). "This new facility will enable us to bring together our entire North American cucurbit research and development leadership under one roof and target farmers' needs across the globe," Fox says. "And, with the addition of new greenhouses and specialized plant growth environments, this facility will provide an exciting opportunity for innovation and collaboration across a wide variety of crops, including cereals, corn, cucurbits and tomatoes."
The formation of the Woodland Center of Excellence is a physical representation of the strong emphasis Syngenta places on thinking like a grower, targeting individual farming challenges and taking a more holistic approach to developing and delivering integrated crop solutions.
"The challenges associated with feeding a growing global population in an environmentally sustainable way require that we think differently about how we help growers create efficiencies and improve their productivity," says Scott Tefteller, head, Coastal Commercial Unit for Syngenta. "The Woodland Center of Excellence will allow us to find new ways to drive innovation and enhance the performance of crops. Initiatives like this enable us to optimize our $1.4 billion annual investment in global research and development."
Woodland will also continue to be an important seed production facility. According to Syngenta site manager Ed Schatz, vegetable seed produced at Woodland will be shipped to many countries around the world.
"Syngenta is proud to expand its facility in Woodland," Schatz says. "This represents an $11.2 million investment in the local economy, and demonstrates our continuing commitment to R&D and seed production in California's Central Valley."