Corteva Agriscience is the new name out front of the Pioneer plant on the west side of Interstate 55 north of Litchfield, and state, county, school district, community and business leaders gathered at the plant on Tuesday morning, Sept. 17, to learn about the change.
"We have a new name," Litchfield location manager Tony Herman said. "The Pioneer name is not going anywhere. Pioneer is still going to be the premium seed of a company now called Corteva.
Pronounced with a short E–not Corteeva–Herman said the new corporate structure has been in the making since September 2017 when Dow Chemical Company and DuPont–the owner of Pioneer since 1999–merged with the intention of splitting into three separate companies. On April 1, Dow Chemical split off as a chemical company, and on June 1, Corteva Agriscience split off as an ag company. On its own, Corteva boasts 20,000 employees in 130 countries, 29 seed production facilities (like the one north of Litchfield) in North America, and $14 billion in annual sales revenue.
"We're still going to be here in Litchfield," Herman said.
The Litchfield production facility, built in 1982, has 68 full-time employees and up to 30 seasonal employees when the company is working 24 hours a day, seven days a week October through April.
The Litchfield site operates on a $70 million annual budget, including $4 million in payroll and $50 to $60 million going to growers, all within 100 miles of the Litchfield plant. Since a $15 million expansion five years ago, the Litchfield plant now ships out 3.3 million units of beans annually to growers mostly in Missouri and Kansas, and 300,000 units of wheat.
The company was established in 1926 as Hi-Bred Corn Company by Henry A. Wallace, a man who resigned in 1933 to become the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. He later served as Vice President of the United States under President Franklin D. Roosevelt during World War II before he was replaced on the ticket in 1944 by Harry S. Truman. Wallace ran for president as a member of the Progressive Party in 1948.