First of many ribbon cuttings at IFC
The celebration of the completion of the roads surrounding the Iowa Fertilizer Co. plant is one of several ribbon cuttings slated.
During a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday afternoon for the completion of work on J-50 and 360th Avenue, IFC president Larry Holley said this is the first of several tasks to be completed at IFC.
“We’re in a celebratory environment. We’re excited about the progress being made,” he said.
Holley said the plant is done fixing past problems and is moving forward with construction. He said ammonia is set to begin production in September or October, with secondary products beginning within a month or two after ammonia production has started.
Holley added 180 of about 200 permanent employees already have been hired and are working at the plant. He said contractors will begin to be let go in the summer if all goes as planned.
Any more setbacks in construction of the plant would be deemed a disappointment.
Community and government leaders also were gathered for the ribbon cutting to give remarks about the importance of IFC and its impact in Iowa. The road completions alone were a $10 million project for the company.
Larry Kruse of the Lee County Economic Development Group pointed out not a single tax dollar went to construct the roads that will be used for hauling the plant’s products.
The county applied for a RISE grant, with IFC supplying the funds to match the grant to make the road project possible.
State Sen. Rich Taylor said the road upgrades were part of an effort to help keep relations with IFC neighbors positive.
“A lot of towns were concerned of the traffic volumes, and they came up with a road plan to not disturb the community too much,” he said.
Holley said he has encouraged staff to use the newly constructed roads and to get used to them since 180th Street will be returned to gravel.
County engineer Ernie Steffensmeier said 180th Street will be used as the route whenever J- 50 and 360th Avenue flood.
The roads’ completion is a step forward for the plant to provide farmers with quality fertilizer.
“This plant will make us more independent from having to import fertilizer from overseas,” county supervisor Ron Fedler said.
Holley said sales employees are working hard to sell the plant’s products to farmers throughout the U.S.
The plant is projected to produce 1.5 to 2 million metric tons of fertilizer products each year. IFC plant is the first greenfield nitrogen fertilizer facility built in the U.S. in about 30 years.