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Monsanto, Danforth Center Urge ADM to Choose St. Louis

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ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - Archer Daniels Midland Co. is looking for a new global headquarters as fellow agri-business giant Monsanto Co. is adding almost 700 high-paying research jobs in St. Louis County. Might one company have some advice for the other?

“We’re certainly very proud of this region and we’re glad to speak for it,” Derek Rapp, Mergers and Acquisitions Lead at Monsanto, tells KMOX News, adding that his biotech company is expanding here because of the talented workforce and passion for life sciences.

St. Louis is said to be among the cities under consideration when ADM moves its headquarters out of Decatur, Illinois. Illinois officials are working to keep the corporate giant in their state by offering incentives for it to move to Chicago but Governor Pat Quinn said Friday he will not support the company’s request for $24 dollars worth of incentives.

The lack of commercial flights at Decatur’s airport is a big reason for ADM’s move, according to their CEO.  Rapp says he can get where he needs to go with the flights at Lambert and notes that getting to the airport itself is much faster than in some other cities.

“I can get where I need to get with ease. I travel a good deal and it’s fine,” he said.

Monsanto is betting almost a billion dollars on a big data weather company from California, acquiring The Climate Corporation to help improve seed performance by better forecasting Earth’s changing weather conditions.

“The fact that we can have, in this region, highly educated, committed, professional experienced people from all walks of life, from different parts of the country who relocated here, is a reason why a company like Monsanto can succeed, has succeeded, and should succeed in the future and why a company like ADM would do well to be here,” Rapp said.

Earlier this week, two St. Louis-based national agriculture groups – the National Corn Growers Association and American Soybean Association – took to KMOX to urge ADM to make the city its new home.

Also on the bandwagon is the Danforth Plant Science Center and its Chief Operating Officer Sam Fiorello.

“I thought this would be a great opportunity to convince the ADM leadership that if they’re going to move somewhere, this is the best place in the world to be,” he said, explaining his thoughts upon hearing ADM would be moving.

“We’ve recruited scientists here from around the world and they don’t hesitate to come here. We’ve recruited companies to go to our resource park from places like Delhi, India and Israel and China,” Fiorello explained.

Fiorello says Archer Daniels Midland would be closer to its suppliers and its customers if its global headquarters was in St. Louis and says ADM’s presence would cement St. Louis as a center of global excellence in agri-science.

If regional leaders put together a team of local bio-tech companies, organizations, and incubators to try to sell ADM on a St. Louis move, Fiorello said the Danforth Research Center would be on-board.

“If the ADM leadership wants to take some top clients to see baseball in October, they should probably live here and not in Chicago,” he said.

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