Governor Kitzhaber praised DuPont Pioneer's announcement today to expand its already significant research and production operations in Hermiston, Oregon. The planned expansion will add an estimated 18 jobs to the current 34 full-time positions at Pioneer, and will pay double the median income for Umatilla County. The expansion is also expected to create about 50 local construction jobs. This is Pioneer's third expansion since it began operations at the site in 2009.
"DuPont Pioneer's expansion in Hermiston is good news for our state, and good news for Eastern Oregon's agriculture economy," said Governor Kitzhaber. "The new jobs created by this expansion are exactly the kinds of jobs I'm working to bring to every part of Oregon."
"We're excited to be growing here," said Les Heeringa, DuPont Pioneer's location manager. "This location has the growing conditions necessary for certain products in addition to a very supportive community, which has been vital."
The State of Oregon 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 while also retaining an existing 34 full-time positions over a two-year period. The State and the Port of Umatilla were joined in their backing of the project by the City of Hermiston and Umatilla County, both of which financed necessary infrastructure upgrades and extended enterprise zone property tax exemptions to the project.
Business Oregon previously made awards to Pioneer from the Strategic Reserve Fund in 2009 and 2010. In 2010, a $100,000 conditional grant helped the company fund a $16 million construction of an expanded seed production facility as well as a new seed research center. The center focused on trial seed production to advance corn product development and testing efforts for the commercialization of new corn hybrids.
In 2009, with assistance from the city of Hermiston and a $50,000 Strategic Reserve Fund award, Pioneer established the $28 million facility in Hermiston to produce parent seed corn and pre-commercial hybrid seed corn. The facility provides more than 240 unique Pioneer brand hybrids and is receiving seed corn from farmers throughout Eastern Oregon for distribution to customers.