Life sciences giant Bayer inaugurated Tuesday two research and development facilities in Guánica and Sábana Grande, as part of an ongoing effort to contribute to the field of crop science, one of the company’s main business lines since it was established on the island 13 years ago.
Both facilities will have a positive impact on the development of crop science in Puerto Rico, given that these facilities are the first of their kind for Bayer locally, the company said.
The 20,000 square-foot, two-building Sábana Grande facility is a soybean breeding research space where scientists work to bring new soybean varieties to growers throughout the world to help meet their greatest challenges and improve yields. The facility that sits on 59 acres and employs 20, represents a $7.6 million investment, the company confirmed.
Seed trials conducted at the Sábana Grande Continuous Soybean Nursery will develop soybean plants with herbicide and insect protectant technologies. At present, soybean trait introgression, counter season and molecular breeding projects are developed all year, Bayer officials said.
Meanwhile, the Guánica Trait Development Station combines scientific and technology resources to support the advancement of the agriculture industry, Bayer said. Specifically, the Guánica station will host dozens of new seed trait and plant research projects across multiple crops year-round.
It was designed to support the application of modern science to the production of food, feed, fuel and fiber, thus improving the reliability of the food supply process. In this facility, scientists will conduct research and development to identify, develop and test new seed varieties of cotton, corn, and soybean.
“The Guánica and Sábana Grande station openings represent a significant investment for Puerto Rico and a clear commitment to Bayer’s investment in advancing technology across multiple crops,” said Frank Terhorst, global head of seeds for Bayer.
“The island is fundamental in ongoing company efforts to improve its priorities in research in order to reach its objective of helping make the agricultural economy more productive,” he said.
“We at Bayer are pleased to inaugurate both of these facilities in Puerto Rico. For us, it is important to continue expanding our business through crop science R&D, and these types of stations allow us to create and continue to develop the very best innovative products for our customers,” said Mike Gilbert, vice president and head of global breeding & trait development for Bayer.
The Trait Development Multi-Crop Station is part of Bayer’s commitment to invest nearly $1 billion in the US between 2013-2016 in new facilities and capital expansion to complement the approximately $1 billion invested globally in research and development annually.
It is made up of three buildings, totaling more than 18,000 square feet of research space on 264 acres. In this site there are 25 employees committed to the projects developed in Puerto Rico.