DuPont business Pioneer Hi-Bred celebrated the completion of a million dollar expansion project at its corn research center in New Holland, Pa. DuPont Chair and CEO Ellen Kullman attended the event and congratulated Pioneer on the expansion and emphasized that investments made in research and development are critical to meeting customer needs and ensuring food security.
"Research and development is the heart of DuPont," said Kullman. "Last year DuPont invested $1.7 billion in research and development, and 61 percent of this investment focused on increasing food production. DuPont's commitment to research is evident in the $1.2 million expansion we've seen here today."
The project consisted of a 9,600 square foot equipment storage and maintenance facility with a new corn dryer. The existing building was remodeled to provide new office space and an enhanced work area for employees. The center was established in the New Holland area in 1985 and moved to its current location in 1994. The center conducts research at 20 unique testing locations from Williamsport, Pa., to Salisbury, Md. Since 2004, plot rows have increased five-fold and the staff has tripled in size with the goal of delivering the right product on the right acre.
Today, the center has approximately 15 full-time employees and many seasonal employees. The center contracts with more than 20 grower cooperators who provide land for local product development and testing.
"It's an opportune time to be in agriculture and an exciting time to be part of Pioneer," said Paul E. Schickler, president – Pioneer Hi-Bred, who spoke at the event. "We are committed to finding innovative solutions to improve agriculture productivity and it is exciting to see that through this center expansion we are paving the way for even greater advancements in the future."
One of those advancements is a major innovation developed by New Holland scientist David Whitaker. His work on Pioneer's first commercial brown mid-rib (BMR) corn, a hybrid that offers improved silage digestibility, gives growers another option when selecting their silage and dairy nutrition products. This product will be commercially available for the 2012 planting season. In addition to BMR, scientists also are focused on delivering high yielding products with resistance to foliar and stalk diseases.
"The New Holland center has a deep history of research excellence, and is critical to our long-term success," said Schickler. "Our right product, right acre strategy is all inclusive, we are talking about innovation in the lab as well as in the field."