DuPont Pioneer announced a $2.5 million expansion of its Mankato, Minn., corn research center to accommodate the continued growth of research programs at the facility.

"The DuPont Pioneer Mankato research center has developed local products to help Minnesota farmers increase productivity on local acres for 54 years," said DuPont Pioneer Research Fellow Dean Christensen. "As the global demand for food continues to grow, we're expanding our local research investment in Mankato to help farmers meet that demand."

Pioneer first established a research station in Mankato in 1958 and built a center in the current location in 1966. It was last remodeled and expanded in 1998. Since then, the center has experienced substantial growth in the number and size of its research programs, which develop corn hybrids, commercialize new technologies and test next-generation products for growers in southern Minnesota.

The 24,000-square-foot expansion will provide space to accommodate those programs, along with the Impact plot product advancement program, which selects the best Pioneer brand corn and soybean products to fit local growing environments. The expansion includes renovation of existing office space and development of a new site plan designed to increase safety and efficiency. The expansion will take place in two phases and is scheduled to be complete by mid-2013.

In the past few years, Pioneer has grown its research and development programs across the United States. It also has grown its presence in the Mankato-area over the last few years, including the addition of employees at its Northern Business Unit office, which is the DuPont Pioneer regional headquarters for Minnesota, the Dakotas and Wisconsin.