WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Fertilizer Company in Lee County’s Future

Feb 17, 2012

The Iowa Economic Development Authority Board is paving the way for a pair of projects in southeast Iowa.

During a meeting on Friday, the board signed off on a $1.6-million dollar award for the development of a large-scale fertilizer plant on 300 acres of land near Wever in northern Lee County.

The funding for Iowa Fertilizer Company will come through a forgivable loan, a loan, and tax benefits.

The company is a subsidiary of Orascom Construction Industries out of Cairo, Egypt.

The authority says the new plant would supply ammonia and other nitrogen fertilizers to farmers in Iowa and the Midwest.

The $1.2-billion dollar project is expected to create 165 permanent jobs and up to 2,000 more temporary construction jobs.

The authority says Orascom plans to invest about $100-million in the project.

The company would also sell more than $1-billion in tax-exempt Midwest Disaster Area Bonds, which were developed to help with economic recovery after severe weather throughout Iowa in 2008.

"I am very excited to announce that with action today from the Iowa Economic Development Board, Iowa is one step closer to landing the largest capital investment project in the history of the state of Iowa," said Governor Terry Branstad. 

The company could also receive funding from Lee County. 

The Board of Supervisors had an item on last week’s agenda about Iowa Fertilizer Company, but tabled it to obtain more information.

It is back on the agenda for the Tuesday, February 21 meeting.

The Iowa Economic Development Authority Board also agreed to provide tax benefits through the Enterprise Zone program for Winegard Company out of Burlington.

Winegard plans to purchase and redevelop the Fairway Shopping Center to develop additional manufacturing and warehouse capacity.

The company produces television reception products, including satellite dishes.

The authority says the nearly $26-million project is expected to create 71 new jobs.