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Crop biotech company to expand by 150 jobs by 2018

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RALEIGH, N.C. -

A global agriculture biotechnology company is expanding its North Carolina operations with plans to add 150 new jobs within about five years.
    
Syngenta Biotechnology Inc. said Tuesday it will expand its Durham operations to include a new laboratory and offices at its Research Triangle Park research center. The jobs tied to researching crop protection and seed development methods are expected to pay an average of nearly $82,000 a year compared to the Durham County average of almost $67,000.
    
The company will get up to $3.2 million in state tax breaks and worker training assistance.
    
Basel, Switzerland-based Syngenta now employs about 400 in RTP and 1,130 in North Carolina.
    
The company is investing $94 million as it builds onto its crop research operations, which aim to change the biology of plants to deliver healthier and higher yielding varieties.
    
"This new facility will bring our employees together in one location, furthering our ability to work collaboratively on crop trait discovery and development that brings growers the tools they need to improve plant performance in any environment," Syngenta Biotechnology President Michiel van Lookeren Campagne said in a statement.
    
The company's RTP site recently developed a corn trait which will be sold to U.S. farmers starting this fall that combats a pest that costs corn farmers billions of dollars each year. Researchers will focus on traits that can help crops better tolerate climate variability, drought and other stressors, and enhance productivity. The current research focuses on corn, soybean, and sugar cane will be expanded into other crops such as cereals, rice and vegetables.

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