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Chemical manufacturing plant to keep potatoes from sprouting could go in Ascension

Chemical manufacturing plant to keep potatoes from sprouting could go in Ascension (Courtesy: Heather Kirk-Ballard)

An Idaho potato preservative and insect repellent producer is considering building a $35 million chemical processing plant in Ascension Parish.

Meridian, Idaho-based 1,4GROUP was founded in 1992 by a former potato farmer and has grown into a global business with operations in Canada, Mexico and Europe.

The proposed complex, at an undisclosed location in Ascension, would potentially replace a Chinese production site and manufacture insect repellent and a potato preservative for global export.

John Forsythe, 1,4GROUP Chairman:
 
"Nearly a third of the food grown today is lost between the field and the plate. One of our products significantly reduces the loss of potatoes in storage, and the other is a high-performing insect repellent from plant oils."

"We are interested in Louisiana because it offers a readily available supply of raw materials, a highly skilled workforce and multiple seaports. Our passion is to help feed the Earth’s growing population well into the future with the use of naturally occurring biochemicals."
More than 112 million pounds of potatoes have been treated with the company's 1,4-DMN chemical products to prevent them from sprouting or continue growing while in storage.

If the chemical plant is built, the company expects to hire 34 workers with an average annual salary of $68,619 in addition to benefits.

The state is offering the company use of its LED FastStart worker training program and tax incentives through the Industrial Tax Exemption Program and Quality Jobs program.
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