On Wednesday, March 4, Bayer opened an automated greenhouse facility near western Marana after three years of development. The greenhouse facility will serve as Bayer's global product design center for corn, focusing on innovations like proprietary seed chipping, advanced marker technology, automation and data science. Corn is the only crop that will be grown there.
Bayer selected Pima County for their operations due to the Sonoran Desert providing sunlight nearly year-round.
The facility broke ground in March 2017, and was originally operated by the agricultural biotechnology company Monsanto, which Bayer acquired in 2018.
“With our new Marana greenhouses, Bayer is reimagining the way plant breeding is done," said Bob Reiter, head of research and development for crop science at Bayer. “The corn hybrids developed here, under diverse growing environments and weather scenarios, will bring innovation to growers in every part of the world.”
As the automated greenhouse’s environment is controlled, the facility will be able to recycle roughly 90 percent of its water, and use only a fifth of the water normally used on an open cornfield.
The seven-acre greenhouse facility is situated on a 155-acre plot just north of a TEP solar far. The facility is expected to create a $284 million economic impact by 2025, and contribute $1.5 million in taxes annually. Bayer has invested roughly $100 million in the facility already.