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State

Ground broken for $1.4 billion southeastern Iowa fertilizer plant

WEVER (AP) — State and local officials dug in deep as they broke ground for a $1.4 billion fertilizer plant in southeastern Iowa.

The ceremonial shovels were wielded Monday near the Lee County town of Wever.

Egypt-based Orascom Construction Industries and its subsidiary, the Iowa Fertilizer Co., acquired nearly three-quarters of a square mile of farmland just off U.S. Highway 61 for the factory.

When completed by summer of 2015, the plant is expected to employ about 165 full-time workers who will produce up to 2,200 tons of anhydrous ammonia a day.

The state offered $110 million worth of tax breaks, loans, job training funds and transportation improvements to get the company to build in Iowa. Lee County approved a property tax incentive that is worth about $130 million over 20 years.

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