Iowa’s elected officials react to Dow-DuPont-Pioneer decision

The Hi-Bred Corn Company was founded in Iowa in 1926.  In 1936, the name was changed to Pioneer Hi-Bred. In 1999, DuPont bought Pioneer.  In 2012, the name was changed to DuPont Pioneer.  Today, as the merger of DuPont and Dow Chemical is underway, came news that Johnston, Iowa, will not be the seed giant’s headquarters. It will be in Wilmington, Delaware.

Iowa’s congressional delegation wrote the company a letter in late January to lobby executives to choose Johnston as corporate headquarters.  State officials had offered incentives to try to lure the HQ to be in Johnston, where Pioneer has had a prominent presence. Now, the state is giving the company $14 million in research tax credits and a $2 million forgivable loan for the retention of 500 high-paying research jobs. Johnston will be home to something called the “global business center” for the seed operation.

Here are the statements from Iowa elected officials about the decision:

U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) issued the following statement following news that the agricultural company that will emerge from the Dow-DuPont merger will not be headquartered in Iowa:
 
“Today’s news is certainly disappointing for our state and also difficult, particularly for the hard working Iowans who were laid off and their families. My thoughts are with them during this time.
 
“Iowa is a leader in agriculture and plays a critical part in ensuring folks in the U.S. and around the world have access to a safe and affordable food supply. Although the agricultural company will not be headquartered in Iowa, it is my hope that Dow-DuPont will expand and produce more good-paying jobs in our state in the very near future.”
 
Last month, Senator Ernst joined Senator Chuck Grassley, and Congressmen Rod Blum, Steve King, Dave Loebsack and David Young to send a letter to Mr. Edward Breen and Mr. Andrew Liveris  highlighting the many benefits to making Iowa the home of the agricultural company that could soon emerge from the Dow-DuPont merger. The members of the Iowa delegation wrote in part, “We believe that Iowa’s rich agricultural heritage combined with our state’s dynamic leadership in agricultural and bioscience innovation would serve as an exceptional center for your agriculture business.” 

Senator Chuck Grassley, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and member of the Agriculture Committee, made the following statement after DuPont and Dow announced the structure of the merged independent agriculture company.  DuPont’s agriculture business had been headquartered in Johnston, Iowa.
 
“The proposed DuPont-Dow merger left Iowans wondering about the future of an iconic Iowa company.  Today’s announcement may not be what we had hoped, but it underscores the value of Pioneer’s outstanding employees and innovative research and development.  It’s further evidence that the people of Iowa are again our greatest asset.   I hope this new entity will continue to embrace the unique and strategic resources of Iowa and its workforce. 
 
“Still at issue is the antitrust review which I’ll be keeping a close eye on.  Vigorous enforcement of the antitrust laws is imperative to maintaining an open, fair and competitive marketplace.   I’m continuing to listen to concerns from farmers and consumers about the merger.”

(DES MOINES) – Governor Terry Branstad and Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds today issued statements regarding DowDuPont’s decision to locate Global Business Center in Iowa.

“We are proud that DowDuPont’s leadership has selected Iowa as its Global Business Center for its newly formed agriculture company. For the past few months, we’ve been in contact with officials at Dow and DuPont and have had the pleasure of showing them what Iowa has to offer, a world-class biosciences company,” said Branstad. “I am glad to say they agreed. We are anxious to help DowDuPont experience success in Iowa, by providing a foundation to build on and a business climate that nurtures growth.”

Reynolds concurred, “Iowa has a long history with Pioneer and its predecessor organizations. We are excited to continue that relationship well into the future with DowDuPont. Today’s announcement is a reason to celebrate — keeping the research and development and business operations in Iowa solidifies DowDuPont in our state and positions us well to compete for future growth opportunities.”

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Dave Loebsack released the following statement today after DowDuPont announced that their new agriculture headquarters will not be headquartered in Iowa. The company also announced that they will continue to have a presence in Iowa by establishing a new agriculture unit in Johnston. 

“Iowa’s farmers feed and fuel the world and together with Iowa’s universities, they create a world-class environment for research and development in ag sciences. While I am disappointed DowDupont did not choose Iowa for its global headquarters, I am pleased they will still continue to have a presence in our state when they establish a new agriculture unit located in Johnston.”

“Last month, Loebsack joined the rest of the Iowa delegation in sending a letter to leaders of both Dow and DuPont highlighting the reasons that Iowa would be a great place to locate its agricultural company.

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Steve King released the following statement after Dow-DuPont announced they did not choose Iowa as the headquarter location for their new agricultural company:

“Iowans have always ensured a safe and affordable food supply for not only the U.S. but for the world as well. As a result, this news is more than disappointing for our great state and for all the hard-working men and women who were laid off as a result of Dow-DuPont’s decision to locate their new agricultural headquarters elsewhere,” said King. “My thoughts and prayers are with these families during this difficult time.

Last month, I, along with the members of the Iowa delegation, sent a letter to the CEOs of DuPont and Dow, Mr. Edward Breen and Mr. Andrew Liveris. The delegation outlined, in this letter, the many benefits to making Iowa the home of the agricultural company that emerged from the Dow-DuPont merger. The letter stated, ‘We are proud of our state’s leadership in agricultural production – not only as the top biofuels producing state, but also as a world’s leader in corn and soybean output. For these reasons, and many others, Iowa would be a great home for your agriculture company.’

“Even though the news is disappointing, this decision does not alter the importance of the work done by Iowa’s agricultural community. Iowa is now, and will always be a leader in agriculture. I have long said all new wealth comes from the land. I hope Dow-DuPont will expand and produce more jobs in our state in the near future. Until then, I will work to bring back those jobs lost to Iowa.”  

AND HERE IS THE NEWS RELEASE FROM THE CITY OF JOHNSTON, IOWA

JOHNSTON, Iowa — (February 19, 2016) — When City leaders heard that high level decisions were being made as to the future of DuPont Pioneer in Johnston, they acted quickly to make the case for maintaining and adding jobs to our community.  Mayor Paula Dierenfeld traveled to Wilmington, Delaware in January to talk with top Dow-DuPont decision makers about why Johnston is the ideal place to maintain a global research center and locate a corporate headquarters. For weeks, Dierenfeld has worked closely with local DuPont Pioneer leaders, Iowa Economic Development officials and the Governor’s Office to ensure Johnston’s voice was heard in the Dow-DuPont decision making process.

We are pleased that Dow-DuPont leaders have chosen to maintain the global research center here in Johnston.  The land that Henry Wallace discovered and cultivated decades ago is still the ideal place in which to conduct seed research that benefits millions of farmers in 90 different countries.

While there are still many unknowns as to what this decision means for Johnston, we believe that within five years, we will see additional research investments in our community.  We are working side-by-side with DuPont Pioneer to maximize the potential investment.

“While the decision by Dow-DuPont was not everything we had hoped, we are very pleased the global research hub will remain in Johnston.  The recent investments in research facilities and the high quality workforce we have in our community obviously went a long ways in convincing Dow-Dupont’s leadership that Johnston is the right place to focus their research activities. The company’s decision continues to position us well for future economic growth in Johnston,” said Mayor Dierenfeld.

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.