By Ken de la Bastide
Tribune enterprise editor
Tipton — The Pioneer seed company made it official Thursday that it was expanding its operations in Tipton and will create up to 20 new jobs.
The company in February was granted a 10-year tax abatement by the Tipton County Council for a proposed $13.8 million investment in the community to bring a new seed processing facility to the 1000 W. Jefferson St. facility. The company is expanding the Tipton site by 20,800 square feet.
The company has already been granted building permits by the Tipton County Plan Commission.
The Tipton location was selected over at least another Pioneer operation in another Midwestern state.
Pioneer is also investing $12.6 million to expand their Rushville facility by 18,720 square feet and creating up to 21 jobs.
“DuPont Pioneer has been a long-standing corporate citizen and one of Tipton’s most valued employers for many years,” Tipton Mayor Don Havens said. “The expansion of this agri-business is a most welcome economic development event for Tipton County.”
Both the Tipton and Rushville expansions are expected to be completed in October. It will allow the company to condition and process its Optimum “AcreMax” family corn seed products.
“We value the relationship we have with both of these communities, counties and the state of Indiana,” Brad Lance, business director of the DuPont Pioneer Heartland business unit, said in a press release. “DuPont Pioneer has operated in Indiana for more than 70 years and we plan to continue that legacy and strive to a be a good long term partner.”
The Indiana Economic Development Corp. is providing Pioneer up to a combined $265,000 in conditional tax credits and $45,000 in training grants based on job creation plans for both projects.
DuPont Pioneer currently employs 500 full-time employees in Indiana.
“It’s no surprise that Indiana has emerged as DuPont Pioneer’s preferred location for business efficiency and growth,” Eric Dowden, president of the IEDC said. “This decision reflects the strengths of Indiana’s business climate, particularly in the areas of workforce, location and cost and our commitment to being a leader in the agricultural community.”
At the tax abatement hearing, Steve Bonine, with Pioneer, said the seed grown in Indiana is shipped out of state for processing.
Pioneer currently employs 259 people in Tipton County.
Tipton plant manager Chad Hodgens said the local facility doesn’t have the technology or space needed to process the seed.
The new process would be blending two types of hybrid seeds into one product that is in demand by consumers.
The estimate is that five jobs will be created in 2013, six in 2014, five in 2015 and four in 2016.
Pioneer last expanded its operations in Tipton County in 2007 with a $1.3 million, 10,000 square foot expansion of its seed quality facility. The last expansion prior to that was in 1988.
Founded in 1926, DuPont Pioneer produces and supplies hybrid or improved varieties of maize, soybean, sunflower, canola, rice, sorghum, alfalfa, cotton and wheat to farmers in more than 90 countries. The company, which operates 75 production plants worldwide, seeks to sustain and improve global agriculture through its more than 100 research and development facilities worldwide.
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