Pioneer Hi-Bred Shuts Mount Pleasant Plant

By George C. Ford, The Gazette

MOUNT PLEASANT, Iowa - Employees of a Mount Pleasant plant found out Thursday that they no longer had a job.

DuPont Pioneer Hi-Bred informed the 54 employees of its facility in Mount Pleasant that the plant was closing immediately. The facility processed and packaged seed from seed corn growers in the region since it was built in 1983.

Jane Slusark, a spokeswoman for Pioneer Hi-Bred, said the plant closing was a strategic decision.

“Over the past several years, we have added capacity through growing capabilities, capital, and process improvement,” Slusark said. “We are closing the Mount Pleasant plant to better use our most modern plants and optimize growing areas.

“DuPont Pioneer doubled sales from 2008 to 2013, and the ongoing steps we are taking will further position the business for growth.”

Slusark said Pioneer Hi-Bred has been reviewing its contracts with growers and making decisions whether or not to renew the agreements based on their strategic location to a processing and packaging facility.

Kiley Miller, executive vice president of the Mount Pleasant Area Chamber Alliance, said the organization learned this spring that Pioneer Hi-Bred was not renewing contracts with growers in the area surrounding the plant.

“We were not given forewarning that the plant would be closing,” Miller said. “Pioneer has invested in upgrades to the plant until last year.”

Miller said his organization will work with Iowa Workforce Development’s rapid response team to secure employment for the employees of the Pioneer plant.

“We have reached out to employers in southeast Iowa that we know are currently hiring,” Miller said. “We’re making them aware of this pool of talent that’s coming into the market.

“We know there are jobs in southeast Iowa for people who are looking for opportunities.”

Miller said the Mount Pleasant Area Chamber Alliance will work with DuPont Pioneer and the Iowa Economic Development Authority to market the shuttered plant to a potential buyer.

l Comments: (319) 398-8366; george.ford@sourcemedia.net

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