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Pioneer expanding in Hermiston

Published on February 7, 2013 3:01AM

Last changed on March 7, 2013 7:49AM

City, county finance infrastructure upgrades, tax exemptions


Capital Press

DuPont Pioneer has announced it is expanding its Hermiston, Ore., plant.

The expansion will essentially double the capacity of its parent-seed corn and hybrid seed processing facility, said Les Heeringa, DuPont Pioneer's location manager.

"We're excited to be growing here," Heeringa said. "This location has the growing conditions necessary for certain products, in addition to a very supportive community, which has been vital."

The state awarded Pioneer a conditional grant of $150,000 from the Governor's Strategic Reserve Fund to help finance the expansion. The award is contingent upon the company creating 18 new full-time jobs and retaining its existing 34 full-time positions over a two-year period.

The expansion is expected to create 50 local construction jobs, according to a press release from Gov. John Kitzhaber's office.

"DuPont Pioneer's expansion in Hermiston is good news for our state, and good news for Eastern Oregon's agriculture economy," Kitzhaber said.

The city of Hermiston and Umatilla County financed infrastructure upgrades and extended enterprise zone property tax exemptions to help back the expansion, according to the release.

The expansion will take place over a two-year period at a cost of $28 million, Heeringa said.

"We hope that by the fall of 2014 it will be complete and ready for the 2014 harvest," Heeringa said.

Heeringa said the company decided to expand in part because it was "pushing capacity" at the existing plant the last two years.

"This will help us reduce a little risk that the plant incurs when pushing capacity," Heeringa said.

Last year, the company contracted for slightly over 6,000 acres of seed corn in Eastern Oregon and into the Columbia Basin plateau in Washington.

Heeringa said he expects contracted acreage to increase substantially as the plant expands.

Pioneer began construction on its $35 million parent seed and hybrid seed production facility in Hermiston in 2009. The facility became fully operational beginning in 2010.

It added a research facility at the site in 2010.


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