August 23, 1999
Today, Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc. officially broke
ground on a new seed production facility in Hamilton County just north of McLeansboro,
Illinois, near the intersection of Interstate 64 and Highway 242. The plant will be used
to produce Pioneer® brand soybean seed in the Group IV and V maturity range.
The $10 million operation, which should be completed within a year, is expected to produce
million 50-pound bags of soybean seed when running at full capacity. Pioneer has
contracted with a select group of area growers to produce up to 50,000 acres of soybeans
across several southern Illinois counties within the next few years.
The facility is expected to employ 15 full-time and 15 part-time seasonal workers.
"Demand for Pioneer brand soybeans has been growing at an incredible rate,'' says
Mark Batchelder, director of soybean production operations for Pioneer. "The
McLeansboro plant is an
example of our efforts to deliver a broad line-up of top-performing, high-quality seed to
customers. Right now, we're challenged to stay ahead of the rapidly growing demand for
soybean seed, and that's a great challenge to have.''
A consistent yield advantage over competitive varieties has fueled the growth. In 1998,
leader soybeans with the Roundup Ready(1) gene held a 2.1-bushel yield advantage over
competitive Roundup Ready products, based on nearly 4,000 comparisons.
Pioneer is the leading soybean seed brand in North America and has been for nine years.
estimated North American market share for Pioneer brand soybeans has grown to nearly 19
percent in 1999 from 13.5% in 1990.
Pioneer looked at several locations in southern Illinois before deciding the Hamilton
County site best met the company's needs. The criteria included site size, convenient
transportation access, proximity to quality growing environments and a favorable local
"This is a perfect site,'' says Batchelder. "The Hamilton County Economic
Development Commission and the Hamilton County Board of Supervisors were very helpful in
the site selection
The McLeansboro facility is only one of many Pioneer soybean production operations within
Illinois. In 1999, Pioneer completed construction on an $8.5 million facility in Woodhull
and expanded its Litchfield plant. Improvements also were made to the Leroy plant in 1996.
A parent seed production plant is located in Shelbyville, and three Pioneer research
centers are strategically positioned throughout the state.
The Litchfield expansion and the new facilities in Woodhull and McLeansboro will increase
soybean production 5.5 to 6 million units in Illinois over just a few years -- that's a
100% increase in production capacity.
But the expansions in Illinois are only one example of the commitment Pioneer has made to
soybean growers across the Midwest. Last year, Pioneer opened a new $8 million soybean
operation in Cherokee, Iowa. The company made extensive upgrades and expansions at several
other plant locations across the central U.S. in 1998, as well.
"Pioneer will continue to aggressively grow our soybean operation to meet the demands
growers -- including their demands for soybeans with the Roundup Ready and STS(2)
technologies, '' says Batchelder. "Over the next three years, we also plan to expand
upon operations in the north and across the Eastern Corn Belt.
"Our customers are interested in buying high-quality, high-performing products from a
supplier,'' Batchelder says. "And we intend, not only to meet their expectations, but
to exceed them.''
Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc. is the world's leading supplier of agricultural
genetics and is the
leading developer and integrator of agricultural technology. Headquartered in Des Moines,
Pioneer develops, produces and markets a full line of seeds, forage and grain additives
and services to grain and livestock producers, grain processors and other customers
(1) Registed trademark of Monsanto Company.
(2) Registered trademark of DUPONT.
Company news release