NEW MADRID, Mo. -- DuPont business Pioneer Hi-Bred executives officially broke ground today on a $55 million parent and commercial soybean seed production plant in New Madrid County, Mo. Missouri Governor Jay Nixon participated in the event.

"Our new soybean production plant in New Madrid will strengthen our ability to meet the increasing product needs of our growers," said Paul E. Schickler, president, Pioneer Hi-Bred. "This will be a first-class production facility that will benefit our growers."

"Missouri's economic recovery continues to strengthen; and to maintain that momentum, it is vitally important that high-tech, 21st-century companies such as Pioneer Hi-Bred invest in Missouri and create new jobs for our work force," said Nixon. "Pioneer's investment in New Madrid County through its new soybean production facility further demonstrates how the strategic use of state tax incentive programs can serve as a powerful tool to help draw quality companies to Missouri, creating solid, high-paying jobs, and moving our economy forward."

The new plant is located on 129 acres of land in New Madrid County. Initial operation is expected to begin fall 2011 after construction is completed. The new plant is expected to employ approximately 50 people once it is fully operational.

As the first Pioneer seed production facility in Missouri, the new plant will primarily serve soybean growers in more southern geographies in the United States. Pioneer also has a research facility in Miami, Mo., as well, selling corn, soybean, sorghum and wheat seed in the state.

It is one of many expansions Pioneer is taking to ensure it meets rising demand for its products to help farmers meet the strong global demand for grain. Pioneer is expanding both its production and research locations in North America. In recent months, Pioneer has announced plans for new research facilities and space for 400 new research positions based in Johnston, Iowa; the Center for Dryland Research in eastern North Carolina; expansion of its research facilities in Union City, Tenn.; expansion of drought research in Manhattan, Kan., and Plainview, Texas; a new research center in Ithaca, Mich.; and expansion at Hermiston, Ore. These additional resources represent the commitment by Pioneer to provide better products for the specific needs of growers' unique operations.

Increasing food production is a priority initiative for DuPont. The company invests about half of its $1.4 billion annual research and development budget to furthering this goal.

SOURCE: Pioneer Hi-Bred.